A police shooting in a small New Mexico town left a 61-year-old truck driver and family man dead in his own driveway Wednesday, and now his kids say the Bloomfield, New Mexico, police won’t tell them why their dad was gunned down.
Rogers was a dad of four and grandfather of 18, and is also survived by four siblings and Billie Rogers, his wife. The couple had been married 40 years.
Bloomfield is a town of about 8,000 in northwest New Mexico. New Mexico State Police, who are investigating the incident, said that Bloomfield officers were responding to a domestic dispute at 414 Ruth Lane in the town. When they got there, officers said they found themselves facing a man brandishing a deadly weapon.
Rogers family says that’s not true. While Rogers, they told The Daily Times newspaper, did keep a legal firearm in his pickup truck, he was unarmed when the officers approached.
In a contradictory report, the New Mexico State Police told TV station KOB that the Bloomfield police were answering a call about a suicidal person at the Ruth Lane home.
According to John J. Rogers brother, Abe Rogers, there was a “squabble” at the home that morning, but no one in the family called the police about it. The family says it has no idea why police shot John Rogers.
The victim’s wife, Billie Rogers, says that she saw two police cruisers stop outside the house while she was inside doing some cleaning. Her husband was in the garage working on his motorcycle, she said.
Before she could do anything, the officers shot and killed her husband.
“I seen a cop walking up towards him with his gun out, and I screamed,” she said. “I ran out the back door and… ‘boom boom.'”
According to John Rogers son, Jonathan Rogers, those two “boom” sounds were both officers firing their weapons. The younger Rogers said that New Mexico state police detectives told him two shots were fired, one by an officer using his sidearm, the other fired from a shotgun.
“They said there was a struggle, and the officer pulled out his gun and shot him in the head,” Jonathan Rogers said. “While he was still gurgling, they put their cold, steel boots to his neck.”
John J. Rogers ran his business, 2JZ Trucking, out of his home. Family members say he spent long days on the road, describing him as a workaholic dedicated to supporting his family. He had purchased his own truck four years ago and only recently paid it off, said Billie Rogers.
The two officers who allegedly shot John J. Rogers have been placed on administrative leave as New Mexico State Police investigate the killing. They have not been named publicly.
Rogers daughter, Becky Medina, says the family is “being kept in the dark” about why police killed her father. But state police refused to say anything about the family’s allegations.
“We are not commenting on what the family is saying,” New Mexico State Police Lt. Emmanuel Gutierrez said. “We don’t do that. We comment on our investigation, and that is it.”
The police shooting in New Mexico is the latest in a series of police killings of apparently unarmed men in the past several weeks.