MCALESTER, Okla. — Dustin Parker was a father, a husband, and a businessman until he was gunned down just before the sun came up on a frigid New Year's morning in McAlester.
Regina Parker met Dustin while attending Eastern Oklahoma State College.
"We were both business majors. And we just met in class. We had two classes together," she said.
Those business classes quickly became personal.
"And we were just inseparable since then on. He was like my best friend instantly," she said.
Her love at first sight, "you hear all the time about people that meet their other half or and you just know."
Both had a past, but it only strengthened their relationship.
"He had a child from a previous relationship. I had two from a previous marriage, and we just became this blended family."
Now only one thing left to do, a fairytale wedding.
"We actually got married in our living room. We had planned an outdoor wedding, and it rained, of course. You wouldn't think it was like a fairytale event, but it really ended up being," she said.
Soon after the marriage came a chance for Dustin to put his business classes to use.
"We got a phone call from Brian saying that he had an idea for a taxi business that he wanted to do for a really long time," said Regina.
"We turned around and built everything from the ground up in less than a month. He did a lot of the work. I just kind of gave direction and project managed most of it. But he did the bulk of everything that needed to be done," said Brian West.
West was more than just a business partner. He and Dustin both advocated for the LGBTQ community.
"In May of 2019, we signed the paperwork with Oklahomans for Equality to start a chapter of Oklahomans for Equality in McAlester. He was very instrumental in helping us getting the 17 people rounded up to make that possible," said West.
Then it was New Year's Day 2020. Dustin and Brian were putting in a hard night at work with their taxi business, then around 4 a.m.
Dustin is seen on the surveillance cameras walking around the office.
"We said our goodbyes, and I said good night see you in the morning. And went home because I was supposed to leave the next day to go on vacation," said West.
Like any new business operators, Dustin wore many hats.
"He wasn't going to be a driver; he was just going to be the manager. But they had just started. They didn't have enough drivers," said Regina.
Regina was home with the flu, but remembers Dustin woke her up, "he came home around 6, took a bathroom break."
And he walked the dog.
"He gives me the dog and says can you put her sweater on her because it's freezing outside."
But, duty called.
"And the whole time, his phone's going off, and I don't remember his exact words. But he was apologizing to me, saying this person was really impatient for their ride and that he had to go. That's the last time I remember seeing him was standing in the bedroom doorway to say goodbye. I just rolled over and went back to sleep for a little while," she said.
But just 30 minutes later, police were knocking on her door.
"They said, 'Are you Mrs. Parker?' And they said, 'is Dustin Parker my husband?' And I said yes. And they asked to come inside to speak to me about a crime."
Her husband, her best friend, shot and killed inside his cab on Delaware street.
Meanwhile, Brian West was getting ready for his vacation when he got a knock on his door. His ring doorbell captured his reaction.
"It was a little much for me to handle. I almost fell over on the front porch," he said.
McAlester police are investigating the case and looking for a motive.
"With what information we have now, I wouldn't want to come out and specifically say this is a robbery or a homicide or some type of targeting deal," said Preston Rodgers, a McAlester police investigator. There has been a person of interest. That person went through an investigation, an interview process with us, and took a polygraph. Right now, that person is no longer a person of interest."
Since then, the trail has gone cold. Leaving Regina with one question, "I just want to know why. I want to know why it was necessary for him to die. I have to raise these kids by myself, and I'm terrified."
Anyone with any information about the murder of Dustin Parker can call the McAlester Criminal Investigation Division at 918-421-4917.
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