911 calls: Suspect was armed with dead Aiken officer's gun during high-speed chase

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COLUMBIA — The man suspected of slaying an Aiken County police officer was armed with her gun as he led authorities on a car chase that exceeded speeds of 110 mph, according to dozens of 911 calls, radio traffic and dispatcher recordings obtained by The Associated Press Wednesday under an open-records request.

Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers was shot responding to a suspicious activity call in an Aiken neighborhood. Police say 26-year-old Joshua Tremaine Jones opened fire on Rogers hours after gunning down his girlfriend, Cayce Vice, in her Augusta apartment.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers was shot responding to a suspicious activity call in an Aiken neighborhood. Police say 26-year-old Joshua Tremaine Jones opened fire on Rogers hours after gunning down his girlfriend, Cayce Vice, in her Augusta apartment.

The calls began pouring in after the Jan. 28 shooting of Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers, 49. Rogers was the second Aiken officer killed on the job since December and the first female officer killed in the line of duty in South Carolina history.

Rogers was shot responding to a suspicious activity call in an Aiken neighborhood. Police say 26-year-old Joshua Tremaine Jones opened fire on Rogers hours after gunning down his girlfriend, Cayce Vice, in her Augusta, Ga., apartment. Jones is being held in the Aiken County jail on a murder charge in the officer’s slaying and also faces a murder charge in Georgia in Vice’s death.

Earlier that morning, a local neighborhood watch member called 911 to report a suspicious car in the area.

“They’re selling drugs,” the man said. “They’re not quoting Bible scriptures. They’re not selling Bibles.”

Officers were sent to the scene. Later, the same man called back to report the shooting.

“The police just got shot!” the man yelled. “We need backup!”

Another officer called in to report, “Officer down.” Operators alerted other officers to the shooting and let them know to pursue a blue car.

Shortly thereafter, requests came in for an ambulance, then a medical helicopter.

Officers also called in from their pursuit of Jones, a chase they reported to operators had risen to speeds of 80 mph and exceeded 100 mph up a two-lane road between Aiken and Interstate 20.

“I was going 110 and he’s still leaving me in the dust here,” one officer said, adding that he was never close enough to see a license plate.

An operator also said officers had lost sight of the suspect’s car near I-20, about five miles from the shooting. Officers said they would analyze their dashcam video in the field and at headquarters to glean more information about where they last saw Jones’ car.

Jones was arrested later that day in Batesburg-Leesville.

A Highway Patrol officer also called in to get information on the pursuit. Giving him details on the shooting and pursuit, the same operator who had fielded the majority of the morning’s calls later began crying when yet another caller asked what was going on.

“I think it’s Sandy. They’ve got her gun,” the operator said, her voice cracking.

In a later call, the same operator openly cried: “Sandy Rogers was shot.”

The neighborhood watch representative subsequently called back with a question: “Have we caught those bastards yet?”

The calls end with one from Chief Charles Barranco, who had been in the role for just a week when Richardson was shot.

“I have SLED on the way,” Barranco told the operator. “We need to make sure as much information can get out on that vehicle.”

Dashcam video from Rogers’ shooting has not been released. A judge has blocked the release of video from the first of the two Aiken police shootings, Officer Scotty Richardson, siding with siding with attorneys for the suspect who said the release would hamper their client’s chances at a fair trial.

Richardson, a 33-year-old father of three, died in the early hours of Dec. 21 after being shot in the head during a traffic stop. Police have charged 19-year-old Stephon Carter with Richardson’s murder, as well as the attempted murder of another officer shot and wounded that night.

The AP has submitted open records requests in both cases. Prosecutors are considering if they will pursue the death penalty.

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Common.sense
465
Points
Common.sense 03/22/12 - 12:51 am
2
0
itsanotherday I must have

itsanotherday I must have missed the part in the article saying that Sandy Rogers was shot with her service weapon after a struggle with Jones. Jones may have stolen Sandy's gun while she was down. There are plenty of women that are capable of holding their own against men. There are also plenty of men that could not hold their own against another man.

Bing0
14
Points
Bing0 03/22/12 - 01:35 am
3
0
To wonder if a male officer

To wonder if a male officer might have not had his weapon taken from him is an interesting first question on this article. I do not see where it has been reported conclusively that Officer Rogers' was shot with her own weapon. However if she was shot with it and that led to her death, seems to me not be a gender issue at all. We do not know the circumstances of the situation well enough to determine if there was any weakness on her part that might have arguably caused her to relinquish her weapon. Jones may have had her at gunpoint. Who wouldn't turn over their weapon in a case like that?
Moreover how is this possibly an issue about gender at all? If we were able to ask Sandy Rogers the question as to whether being female and perhaps more sensitive was in part to blame for her death, what might she say?
She might say yes it did but I loved my job and I wouldn't change a thing.
To say that females don't deserve the same right as men to pursue dangerous jobs is a violation of the civil rights of women. It is also an over-generalization of the feminine aspect of being a woman that makes her more vulnerable than men for harm in certain jobs. There are always exceptional individuals in every profession (both male and female). Sandy Rogers was where she wanted and was supposed to be that night. I suspect that she died doing what she loved to do. I never met her that I know of but I think that is a safe bet.
To deny her the opportunity to become a police officer because she is a woman would be equally tragic to what befell her.
...Rest In Peace Officer Rogers

jackrussell
219
Points
jackrussell 03/22/12 - 05:01 am
4
1
Itsanotherday, what I'd like

Itsanotherday, what I'd like to say I'm not allowed to on this forum. An officer was shot first by a suspect with the suspect's gun and THEN, after being on the ground with a lethal injury, had her gun removed. The gender of the officer had nothing to do with it. The biggest, strongest man out there could have performed no differently. There are aspects of the job that women are better than men at and vice versa. You sir need to exit the 1950s and join the rest of us in 2012. I suppose you believe women only exist to cook, clean, have babies, and serve you.

REDRIDER
134
Points
REDRIDER 03/22/12 - 07:21 am
3
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Itsanotherday Why post what

Itsanotherday Why post what you did. This officer was quite capable of taking on the man with out a gun. She was shot and wounded when he took her gun. I wish the media would leave these kinds of cases alone so evidence is secure.

nanowerx
1306
Points
nanowerx 03/22/12 - 07:29 am
1
0
I am not the biggest fan of

I am not the biggest fan of cops, but I totally understand why we need them and why they are around. Either way, it is insane how many officer shootings there have been in the CSRA lately. This is really getting out of hand and it makes me feel for the officers still out there doing their job in light of this.

Oh and I really didn't like this: “They’re selling drugs,” the man said. “They’re not quoting Bible scriptures. They’re not selling Bibles.” - Statements like this is what gets things started. Reporting a suspicious vehicle or person is one thing, but to blatantly guess on what they are actually doing is a disservice to the "neighborhood watch" initiative.

Remember, that Treyvon Martin that was killed was mislabled by the guy who shot him and that ended in his death. Please, people, if you are going to be the neighborhood civilian cop, report only what you know and not what you assume, as it changes everything and discredits somebody generally wanting to help into somebody that annoys the 911 operators almost everyday (I know people like this!).

My heart goes out to all the officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

bdouglas
4899
Points
bdouglas 03/22/12 - 08:34 am
0
1
@Nanowerx: Just playing the

@Nanowerx: Just playing the devil's advocate here, but what if you were a neighborhood watch leader in your neighborhood? What if there is constant known drug activity there, yet law enforcement can't seem to get a handle on it and you're frustrated? If you saw this same scene, would you then not be more likely to exaggerate your report saying that you're seeing someone selling drugs when you see a suspicioius vehicle in your neighborhood? Just a thought. This is an area known for shady and otherwise criminal activity.

itsanotherday1
41997
Points
itsanotherday1 03/22/12 - 09:30 am
1
1
For those of you who believe

For those of you who believe I'm sexist, let me say this; I'll take my chances with a 200lb man dragging me from a burning building before I would a 150lb. woman. There is a perfectly good reason you don't see women competing with men in activities where strength counts. This IS 2012 and would think by now most would have realized males and females are constructed differently, and it has nothing to do with desire or talent. Females are equal and often superior in other endeavors where body structure isn't an issue.

Back to the article. I stand corrected that the article did not say her service weapon was used against her. Mea Culpa.

As a matter of fact, as I re-read it it is obvious that I was mistaken and I will delete it. Apologies.

Common.sense
465
Points
Common.sense 03/22/12 - 11:50 am
1
0
bdouglas, I would not

bdouglas, I would not lie(exaggerate) to law enforcement about the situation. It does everyone involved a disservice. You report what you see, not what you assume is going on.

bdouglas
4899
Points
bdouglas 03/22/12 - 02:16 pm
0
1
@Common.sense: And maybe

@Common.sense: And maybe that's what the person saw? Maybe he'd seen that vehicle there before doing the same thing? Does anyone *know* what the guy was doing before this horrible act occurred? Nope. If you want to crucify a guy for reporting suspicious activity, you're doing a disservice to the community. The coward who pulled the trigger is the only one to blame for this.

Common.sense
465
Points
Common.sense 03/22/12 - 02:41 pm
0
0
I was referring to your

I was referring to your comment of exaggerating. Not what the person who called reported.

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