Dennis Todd Rogers, 41
Dennis Todd Rogers, a 41-year-old black man, died Tuesday, March 7, after he was shot and killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy in the 5000 block of West Slauson Avenue in Ladera Heights, according to authorities.
Rogers had taken out a membership at a 24 Hour Fitness gym on Slauson about five days earlier and had been staying at the gym some 12 hours a day since then, said Sheriff’s Lt. Joe Mendoza.
Other members complained to management that Rogers had been harassing men and women in the gym, Mendoza said.
A manager called deputies about 8:35 p.m. for help removing Rogers from the gym, Mendoza said. Rogers was cooperative with deputies and agreed to leave. The manager told Rogers his membership was suspended, Mendoza said, but he could come back the next morning to discuss it with management.
Rogers went outside, and the deputies left, Mendoza said.
But Rogers never left the area. “He was pacing back and forth and just hanging around outside,” Mendoza said.
The manager called deputies again around 10:40 p.m., saying that Rogers was threatening him outside and that he was afraid to leave, Mendoza said.
When deputies returned, Rogers was “belligerent and cursing, really focusing on the manager,” Mendoza said. “And at a certain point he became belligerent to the deputies. He came very close to them, invading their personal space and challenging them to a fight.”
One deputy shot at Rogers with a Taser, but it had no effect. The deputies also called for help from one of the department’s Mental Evaluation Teams, but the department had just two teams working countywide, and both were tied up with other cases, Mendoza said.
“Even if a team had been available, the closest one was 15 miles away, and it would have taken 30 minutes to get there,” Mendoza said. “This situation escalated really quickly so they probably wouldn’t have arrived in time.”
After the deputy fired the Taser, Rogers walked to a larger parking lot. Deputies ordered him to stop, Mendoza said, and Rogers reached into his backpack and pulled out metal electric hair clippers with a long cord.
“He began swinging the clippers ... like a ball with a chain on it and chasing a deputy around the parking lot, swinging the clippers closer and closer,” Mendoza said. “He came within inches of striking the deputy, swinging the clippers hard and fast. The deputy tried to retreat, but when the deputy ran out of space, that’s when the shooting occurred.”
The name of the deputy has not been released.
Rogers was treated at the scene and taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead, Mendoza said. He was struck at least once in the upper torso, Mendoza said. He would not release any further details about the shooting, which, as with all shootings by deputies, is being investigated by the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Rogers' last known address was in Texas, Mendoza said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.