Mom: Police shot unarmed son five timesRogers charged with assault on trooper
The mother of a man shot by police Aug. 1 in their Georgetown home says a trooper fired nine shots at her unarmed son hitting him five times.
"All of a sudden he emptied his gun in my living room," said Lorraine Rogers, mother of Michael W. Rogers, 53, who has been charged with second-degree assault of a police officer and resisting arrest with force or violence – both felonies – in connection with the shooting.
Lorraine said at 10:11 p.m. she answered the door of the Deep Branch Road home she shares with her son to find a trooper who wanted to question Rogers about a hit-and-run accident earlier in the evening.
The accident happened about 9 p.m. in the parking lot of the Riverside Inn, when police say a car registered to Rogers backed into an unoccupied parked car before driving off.
Lorraine said she sees no dents or marks on the car Rogers drove that would show it had been involved in an accident.
Lorraine was talking to Trooper First Class Matthew Morgan, 28, a three-year member of Troop 4 in Georgetown, when an inebriated Rogers came out of a back bedroom to answer questions. The two began to argue, Lorraine said.
As the interview digressed, Lorraine said Rogers returned to his bedroom, and the trooper followed him. Lorraine said she did not see what happened in the bedroom, but she knew Rogers was mad – the officer may have tried to cuff him, she said.
At one point, she said, she sternly warned her son.
"I told him "Stop it, stop it, you're going to get arrested,'" she said.
Sgt. Paul Shavack of the Delaware State Police said Rogers was uncooperative, and a violent struggle ensued before Trooper Morgan tried unsuccessfully to use a Taser on Rogers.
"The prongs may not have made contact," Shavack said, adding police are investigating whether drugs or alcohol could have been a factor in the Taser's ineffectiveness.
Rogers left the bedroom and flipped over a coffee table before he was shot, Lorraine said.
Although Rogers was inebriated, Lorraine said, it gave the trooper no right to shoot her son; at no time did Rogers have a weapon of any sort in his hand.
At one point, Trooper Morgan was about seven feet away when he raised his gun, she said.
"He had that gun pointed right at us, and Michael said, 'Don't shoot my mother,'" Lorraine said.
He didn't shoot her, but Lorraine said the trooper put five of his nine shots into her son.
"There were nine bullet casings in my living room," she said.
Shots hit Rogers in the shoulder, arm, torso, leg and groin – adding insult to injury, she said.
"We think the trooper shot him in the groin on purpose," Lorraine said. "You can't tell me that wasn't anything but temper."
Shavack said he did not know the locations of the gunshot wounds.
Police employ a use-of-force continuum when determining whether to use deadly force. There has been no re-evaluation following this incident of the use-of-force continuum police officers use to determine whether deadly force is necessary, Shavack said.
"We feel confident with the force continuum utilized," he said.
Lorraine said she has not heard a word from her son since he was taken to Beebe Medical Center on Aug. 1. She said she heard he was operated on, and she assumes all the bullets were removed. She also heard he was in serious but stable condition.
Beebe Medical Center has no record of a patient by the name of Michael W. Rogers – a response that could indicate a patient is in Department of Corrections custody. Rogers currently is held on $9,500 secured bond.
The trooper also was taken to Beebe Medical Center, where he was treated for injuries and released. He has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Shavack said.
Lorraine said she does not understand why Morgan did not call for back up when he realized Rogers was uncooperative.
"This officer could have gone to the car and called for back up. Even I know not to argue with someone who's inebriated," she said. "He didn't choose to do that. What he did choose to do is shoot my son down like a dog."
Now, she said, she's picking up the pieces thrown awry during the struggle in her living room. One chair is covered in blood and, she said, she'll need a new couch to replace the one riddled with bullets. The coffee table has been taken for evidence, although she has no idea why.
"It's not like he tried to throw it or anything on it," she said.
A cadre of state troopers and investigators with the Attorney General's Office gathered evidence at her home until 4 a.m. following the shooting, she said.
But it's her son she wants to hear from most.
"We don't know what we will do," she said. "This whole thing is outrageous."
NOTE: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Rogers flipped the coffee table before he went into the bedroom. He flipped the table after coming out of the bedroom, his mother said. The story has been updated to correctly identify Delaware State Police Sgt. Paul Shavack.