Norman Oklahoma – On 10 November 2014, Devin Rogers went into the Nextep building, at 1800 N. Interstate Drive, and took hostages. After he was taken into custody, questions were being asked about why he did this, various claims started coming out and we began getting emails and comments asking us to check out his story.
According to News9.com:
Police have identified the suspect as 29-year-old Devin Rogers. So far, police have not said what might have motivated Rogers.
Rogers was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center just before 1 a.m. Tuesday. No bond amount has been set for him.
Multiple police units responded to the call along with the Norman SWAT team. A large number of people were evacuated from the building at approximately 1:16 p.m.
Police confirmed that Rogers was armed with a pistol when he entered the Farzaneh Law Firm, on the second floor of the Nextep building, and held three hostages, two of whom have been identified as Jennifer McMinn Shokat and Daymon Capers.
Eventually, Rogers requested Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn, who worked out an arrest deal with Rogers.
Upon that deal, the hostages were released and able to be back with family while Rogers was taken into custody.
David Blair, a paralegal with the Farzaneh Law Firm spoke with News 9 and said he was in contact with Shokat. Blair said that Shokat told him the suspect claimed to be a 10-year Iraq war veteran. Blair said the woman told him she was ‘OK’, and that the suspect was allowing her to use her phone.
Shokat is a paralegal with the firm, and Daymon Capers is the firm’s operations manager. The third hostage has not been identified at this time.
District Attorney Greg Mashburn told News 9 he does not know why Rogers came to the building. Mashburn said he has had no prior dealings with him and News 9 could not find any past arrests for Rogers in Cleveland or Oklahoma Counties. Rogers was transported to the City of Norman Investigations Center.
All roads in the surrounding neighborhoods were closed while authorities worked to secure the scene. Traffic on the southbound side of I-35 was also slowed due to curious motorists.
Bright Start Early Education Center, located just south of Nextep, was placed on lockdown as a precaution to this incident. Community Christian School was also put on lockdown because of the situation.
Norman Police released the following statement regarding Monday’s hostage situation:
“The suspect in today’s hostage situation at 1800 N. Interstate Drive has identified himself as Devin Rogers, age 29. Investigators will attempt to confirm his identity and answer many other questions associated with the incident as they proceed through their inquiry this evening. Since tomorrow is a holiday, formal criminal charges are not expected to be filed by the District Attorney’s Office until Wednesday.”\
Veterans started emailing us this story to see if Devin had actually served, as we reached out for records, more interesting details began to surface. Jennifer Shokat, one of the hostages Devin took, spoke out to News9:
Then the following day, News9 interviewed several of Devin’s friends and a former roommate and they explained what Devin had told them about his experiences overseas:
New Details Wednesday night surrounding what drove Devin Rogers to hold people hostage this week inside an office building in Norman. A former roommate shed light on Rogers’ past and what he was feeling just days before the standoff. News 9 spoke with two of Rogers’ friends, and they gave a better idea of just who Rogers really is and what may have pushed him over the edge.
“I can’t imagine how he must’ve felt going through that traumatic experience in Afghanistan, being captured, watching your whole squad die in front of your eyes and him being strangled,” Lopaka Kauakahi said.
Devin Rogers is a marked man, now a criminal, but his friends say he was once a decorated prisoner of war, forever bearing the scars on his neck. “Those scars were from when he was in Afghanistan. He was a prisoner of war,” Kauakahi said. “He said there were like six other people, seven other people. The only thing about it is he ended up being the only one making it out.” And Rogers made sure those he took hostage Tuesday in Norman made it out, just like him.
Those who know Rogers claim he is a very decorated war veteran and spent 10 years in the army in three tours of duty, and it was his last one where he ended up getting captured and tortured. However, back at home they said he had no enemies and was a courteous, gentle man, not a kidnapping gunman. “It wasn’t in his character. Devin was the type of man to always look out for the next man, never to put anyone in danger,” Kauakahi said. Before showing up in Oklahoma, Rogers friends said he left behind a note telling his roommate he was leaving and then disappeared. “I hoped that he just wanted to leave LA. Leave California. Go to another city and start fresh,” Kauakahi said.
Friends of Rogers said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and that the scars on his neck kept him from getting jobs. Although he is said to have had an honorable discharge from the military, his life as a civilian was anything but that. Rogers’ friends believe he took hostages to create a situation for himself and tried to negotiate a 10-year solitary confinement with authorities.
He claims he was taken as a POW while in Afghanistan and tortured and that’s why he has scars on his neck. We all know that during the Afghan war only one person was ever classified as a POW, and it wasn’t this guy. Here is a link to every know POW from Iraq/Afghanistan since 1991.
Then he tells people his whole squad was killed, and he was the only survivor. This is a line we hear from a lot of people who lie and/or embellish their stories, he also claims he did three tours of duty overseas.
We can confirm that Devin did serve in the Army, and he did deploy twice, once to Iraq and once to Afghanistan as a Utilities Equipment Repairer (91C). We also found no evidence of him being taken as a POW, nor any injuries sustained which would have warranted a Purple Heart. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even have a CAB(Combat Action Badge), which would have been awarded if he had actually seen combat while deployed. The following is his service verification from the United States Army.
As you can see from his official records, he has nothing that would say he was ever a POW, and no Purple Hearts from any injuries sustained in a combat zone. We can say without a doubt that he wasn’t a POW at any time, and we could not find where the 4th Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division lost that many men on one day during that deployment timeline.
Devin is scheduled to appear for his bond hearing tomorrow, although we can’t speculate about why he took hostages in that building, we can tell you it wasn’t because he was a POW. He also did not receive his neck injuries by being strangled by the enemy, as he would surely have been awarded a Purple Heart. We will continue to update this story as we find out more.