The Impact Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Thursday, November 13th 2014, 11:26 pm
By: News 9

There is a lot of controversy surrounding the alleged military background of Devin Rogers.

Rogers held people hostage this week inside a Norman office building. News 9 is learning more about his time in the service and a condition from which his friends believe he suffers.

People close to Rogers say he was a broken man and likely suffering from PTSD. It's a paralyzing affliction Oklahoma soldiers know all too well.

“Even now I can sit here and close my eyes and still see the faces of the guys that shot at me or shot my brothers in combat,” Gregory Coats said.

Coats' battle is real and it didn't end when he came home from Iraq.

“From nightmares to isolating. When I say isolation, I mean cutting your family off, cutting your friends off. Just staying basically in a dark room in your house where you feel safe,” he said.

Safe at home, but still in survival mode.

“Things I lived through,” he said.

11/13/2014 Related Story: Army Records Detail Devin Rogers' Military Service

A roadside bomb temporarily took Coats' vision and hearing. He's since gotten them back, but ambushes, killings, firefights, rocket attacks are recurring nightmares that won't go away.

“I didn't know what it was,” Coats said. “I didn't know why I was having nightmares.”

Until one day when he found himself armed with a gun and face to face with the Sheriff's Office. He'd blacked out and didn't remember a thing except what he was trained to do as a marine.

“Some of it I'm yelling at him to drop his weapon in Spanish,” he said. “Some of it I'm yelling at him in Arabic.”

After that he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He and fellow former marine Jacob Shoemate are now advocates for veterans. Both are diagnosed with PTSD. Shoemate lost his left foot in combat in Afghanistan.

“I know people who can't look at trash on the ground, because they think it's going to explode,” Shoemate said.

The condition affects veterans in different ways. Those close to Devin Rogers say he was a veteran, experienced nightmares and was a prisoner of war according to him. The Department of Defense tells News 9 Rogers is in fact a veteran, received 16 awards during his service to Iraq and Afghanistan, but the department could not confirm he was ever a POW.

“I think more or less what he was trying to do was cry out for help,” Shoemate said.

Because of Hipaa laws News 9 cannot confirm if Rogers suffers from PTSD. He was charged with six felonies and is back in court Friday.