A suicidal man who police shot to death after a nearly two-hour standoff Monday apparently fired a shotgun outside his workplace before officers arrived, according to information released Wednesday by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.
A sheriff’s K-9 team recovered a portion of a shotgun shell known as a wad in the area where a witness said James Edward Rogers fired a shot before fleeing in a van. No one was injured by that shot.
But about two hours later, Rogers, 45, was fatally shot by Spokane police after refusing commands to put down the shotgun and exit the van, which he had crashed and overturned at East Seventh Avenue and South Hatch Street while fleeing officers.
Authorities have not indicated why officers felt they needed to open fire on Rogers after nearly two hours of negotiations.
Investigators canvassed the neighborhood Tuesday gathering witness accounts and are interviewing officers who were at the scene.
Detectives also interviewed Rogers’ co-workers at SL Start, an assisted living facility at 811 S. Hatch Road. Rogers had worked for SL Start for about a year when an employee called 911 Monday to say he was suicidal and had a firearm.
Authorities recovered the shotgun and were searching the 1993 Chevrolet van Wednesday, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Dave Reagan. The Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation.
The van and shotgun belong to Rogers’ father, Alonzo Rogers. Rogers’ family had spent Monday looking for him as he called them repeatedly from different locations, talking of suicide. Rogers was an alcoholic, his family said.
Rogers’ sister, Angela Crigger, was on the phone with police when she heard gunfire. Alonzo Rogers was en route to the scene to help police persuade his son to surrender.
Alonzo Rogers said the shotgun was difficult to reload because of a malfunction. “He would have had to take time to dig it out and put in another one,” Rogers said.
Rogers doesn’t know if his son had extra shotgun shells in the van.
“I’ll be curious to see if they found any in the van,” he said Wednesday.
Reagan would not say Wednesday if the officer or officers who fired shots have given tactical briefings or full interviews but said the information will be released “in the near future.”