Tulsa Fireworks Stand Owner's Son Charged In Death Of Teen During Robbery
TULSA, Oklahoma - A fireworks stand worker faces a manslaughter charge for killing a suspected thief.
Another thief faces a far less serious charge.
The theft of a box of fireworks set a chain of events into motion that ended with a teenager shot dead.
But it's the owner of the fireworks — not the thief — facing the most serious charge.
Investigators say what happened at the fireworks stand was not an armed robbery, but a simple theft of merchandise.
The fact that someone was killed in the process, prosecutors said, isn't a factor in the charges against Jack Ulrich, the man who admits taking the fireworks.
"It's a misdemeanor crime, so it's not as serious as a felony. It happens hundreds of times a day," said Erik Grayless, First Assistant District Attorney.
"The more serious charge is against Johnny Mize Junior, who told investigators he fired shots during the theft, but wasn't sure if he hit anyone.
Investigators determined that was unjustified with no evidence of an armed robbery.
So while Mize will face a charge of manslaughter, Ulrich faces a simple misdemeanor.
"The laws that were recently passed make that a misdemeanor. And so it's a misdemeanor theft charge," Grayless said.
The teenager — Jake Ulrich — was buried Thursday, and today his family says they're relieved that someone will face charges in his death.
"This was tragic and we feel his death was unjustified," said Nathan Milner, family attorney.
Milner said the family has a lot of questions about the circumstances of the shooting but has confidence the charges are correct.
"Nobody is happy in this situation. The family lost a young kid, a good kid," Milner said.