Police: Dolton gunman wanted to die

Woman beaten, stabbed and shot to death, police say
June 25, 2008 7:34:45 PM PDT
The father of a man killed by police during a deadly standoff disputes reports his son had a gun in his hand after he left an insurance agency. "He may have had a gun when the incident was taking place but when he came out to surrender he didn't have a gun," said Willie Rodgers, gunman's father.

Officers killed the man, 34-year-old Michael Rodgers, Tuesday afternoon after he took a woman hostage inside the building and, police say, he beat, stabbed and shot her to death.

Many questions remain after that deadly stand-off in suburban Dolton. Rodgers' family is not sure why he was inside the Illinois Vehicle Insurance office.

Dolton Police tell ABC7 that Michael Rodgers had an extensive criminal background, and several months ago, he had purchased an insurance policy from the agent he killed Tuesday.

Michael Rodgers' father told ABC7 a much different story. He says he can't think of any reasons or any problems that his son was having that could have led to this.

"I don't know how this came about. You know what I'm saying? But he was ok," said Willie Rodgers.

Willie Rodgers is the father of Michael Rodgers, the alleged gunman in Tuesday's hostage standoff at the Illinois Vehicle Insurance office in Dolton. Rodgers says he spent nearly two hours on the phone with his son during the ordeal. His son told him he was shot first by the female employee and was acting in self-defense. Police say that isn't true. But, as a SWAT team surrounded the building, and after Rodgers told his father he had shot and killed 42-year-old Jeniel Morgan, Willie Rodgers said he convinced his son to surrender.

When he came out, Rodgers says his son was not carrying a gun.

"He surrendered. He came out with no weapon. You know what I'm saying? Why can't you take him into custody? Why shoot him in the back when he surrendered to come out?" Rodgers said.

A closer look at the home video shows Rodgers is holding a cell phone in his left hand. In his right hand, there appears to be a shiny object. Dolton Police say it was a gun.

"He raised the weapon toward the officers and the tactical unit that had surrounded the scene had to take him out," said Sergeant David Spigolon, Dolton Police.

Police also said Wednesday that Rodgers had taken out an insurance policy at the insurance office and the agent was Jeniel Morgan.

Morgan's sister-in-law told ABC7's Dan Ponce there was no relationship between the two. Morgan was married to a Cook County Sheriff's deputy.

"She has a husband, children, faithful to her family and actually, the situation, someone else was targeted," said Morgan's sister-in-law, who asked not to be identified.

As for a motive, police are still trying to piece it together. They've been reviewing surveillance video from inside the business but have already concluded that Rodgers apparently wanted to die.

"After he murdered the victim, he knew the consequences of his act, and we believe it was now suicide by cop," said Spigolon.

Police say they are still reviewing all of that surveillance video. They say it appears that the victim tried to fight off her attacker several times and at one point she almost managed to escape.

Police said they are also looking into the possibility that Michael Rodgers may have shot himself before exiting the building. But as for why he went to that business and what might have set him off, all of that remains a mystery.


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