Norman Police Lieutenant Speaks Out A Year After Norman Hostage Situation
NORMAN, Oklahoma - It was exactly one year ago that a man with a gun took hostages inside a Norman business, demanding to speak to police.
After more than four hours of negotiations, it finally came to a peaceful end with the suspect Devin Rogers, 30, releasing the hostages and surrendering to police
The lead SWAT negotiator with the Norman Police Department that day was Lt. Marcus Smallwood.
He said he remembers that day being very much like today, clear blue skies and a quiet day, until 911 calls started pouring in, saying a man was taking hostages at the Nextep building, near Interstate 35 and Rock Creek Rd.
Smallwood said Rogers told him at first he wanted to target a bank, but feared what would happen with all the security inside.
“He chose the biggest prettiest building next to the interstate that he could find to make the biggest impression that he possibly could,” Smallwood said. “And his intention was to take hostage and to make a scene and make demands.”
The security cameras inside the building captured several images as Rogers held a man at gunpoint and tried to make his way to a higher floor in the building.
Police say he tried to make it to the top floor but couldn't, because of the security card access. He ended up taking the stairs to the second floor, shot out a glass door, and took a woman inside hostage while two other people were holed up nearby.
“He was resolute, he didn't sound afraid, I didn't hear a quiver in his voice,” Smallwood said. “He knew what he wanted, and even laughed and chuckled and had fun with it. Seems like he was enjoying the whole thing.”
Smallwood said what fascinated him was how articulate and charming and educated Rogers appeared to be during their negotiations over the phone.
Despite shots being fired on the second floor, no one was injured or killed in the four-hour ordeal.
And Rogers, who turned out was a military veteran, gave up peacefully. He only asked for three things; to be housed, fed and put in jail for 10 years. He also asked for all the books he could read.
“To me that was bizarre because typically the suspect doesn't want to go to jail, they want to avoid jail,” Smallwood said.
One thing Smallwood took away from that day is that things aren't always what they appear.
He said the words that come to mind to describe this case include Accelerated Stockholm Syndrome, traumatic bonding, charm and sociopathic behavior. He said even what happened between Rogers and the female hostage during the ordeal was different than he would expect.
“Typically a victim would be afraid and victimized,” Smallwood said. “In this case, it has not been the case 100 percent of the time.”
Smallwood said he's just glad this incident came to a peaceful resolution. And he said what comes out in the trial should be fascinating.
The CEO of Nextep said security at the building has been increased as a result of the incident. As for the workers at the Nextep building, they presented a signed photo thanking the Norman Police Department for what they did that day.
“We're really blessed from that standpoint,” Nextep CEO Brian Fayak said. “My hats off to them and all the work that they do.”
As for the law office where the main hostage situation took place, a worker told News 9 they moved out of the Nexstep building a couple weeks ago to a south Oklahoma City location. Fayak said the second floor is currently being remodeled.
Devin Rogers is being held in the Cleveland County jail without bond. His next hearing is set for January. His attorneys have entered a not guilty plea.