Action movie star may be charged with murder after shootout, knifing

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 July, 2002, 12:00am

Neighbours thought a movie was being filmed when they saw their neighbour, film star Sonny Parsons, run out of his home firing his pistol. The early-morning silence was shattered as Parsons traded shots with men in a speeding Jeep.

But it was not a movie, and Parsons, who says he was defending his family from robbers and would-be rapists, may find himself charged with murder.

A woman tending a nearby store said she saw Parsons shoot at the men in the Jeep, who fired back. One of the passengers fell on to the road as the vehicle sped away.

Parsons, whose gun had run out of bullets, ran back into his house, emerged with a knife and slashed the man's throat, witnesses later told the police. Bystanders finally realised they were not watching a movie in the making when they saw blood spurt out of the man's throat.

Parsons had hit two other alleged robbers. One was shot in the head and died on the spot. The other was traced by police to a hospital, where he was being treated for his wounds.

Parsons said they were among six men who broke into his home to rob him. He said they even tried to rape his daughter.

Three of the alleged robbers managed to flee.

'It didn't feel like a movie at all,' said Parsons, 44, who has made 29 action films.

But it would make a good comeback movie for Parsons, whose last movie, Bullets for Justice, was made three years ago.

Parsons, also once the lead singer of a popular 1980s band that emulated the Village People, said he was jolted awake last Thursday by the cold barrel of a .357 magnum revolver jammed against his cheek.

Armed with guns and knives, the men allegedly broke into his residence in an upper middle class subdivision in suburban Manila as a maid opened the gate at 6.30am when the family's youngest child went out to catch her school bus.

They tied up Parsons, his wife, two daughters, aged 22 and 26, and five others.

They ransacked his home looking for his 'baby Uzi' sub-machinegun and .45 calibre semi-automatic pistol, Parsons, a former city councillor, told the police. Failing to find his guns, they took his mobile phone, video camera and 133,000 pesos (HK$20,600) in cash.

'I had to fight back because they were about to rape my daughter. One was about to take off her underwear when I told them that they better go because I was expecting policemen for breakfast,' he said.

He said the men left soon after, 'but they threatened to return'.

A police investigator said Parsons may be charged with murder because he was no longer acting in self-defence when he shot at the fleeing men or when he slit the throat of the man he had shot.

But neighbour Girlie Godow, who says she was robbed in the same way, said she thought he did the right thing, because 'this is happening almost every day'.

A lawmaker said he would sponsor a Senate resolution commending Parsons, a former police officer who earned a reputation as a sharpshooter.