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Man pleads guilty to fatal shooting at Laughlin storage facility

A 37-year-old man pleaded guilty but mentally ill on Tuesday to a fatal shooting at a Laughlin storage facility.

Manuell Rogers admitted to shooting and killing 70-year-old John DeClark on Jan. 28, 2022, at the Laughlin Boat and RV Storage facility, at 2445 Needles Highway, and then firing a shotgun at a vehicle with Rogers’ wife and four young children inside. His wife was shot and injured, and two of his children suffered shrapnel wounds from the gunfire, according to court records.

Rogers pleaded guilty on Tuesday to murder with a deadly weapon, attempted murder with a deadly weapon and child abuse, neglect or endangerment, court records show. He agreed to a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole in 28 years, although a judge will have the final say in his sentence.

He entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill, meaning a judge will be able to order treatment for Rogers in prison. During a grand jury hearing in February 2022, Rogers’ wife testified that he suffers from a traumatic brain injury from a motorcycle crash and dementia.

Rogers’ public defender, David Lopez-Negrete, declined to comment on Tuesday.

Rogers’ wife said he was acting paranoid the day of the shooting, and left their home to head toward the storage facility. Surveillance footage showed Rogers standing in the doorway of his storage unit holding a gun, and shooting DeClark when the other man walked near him, according to transcripts of the grand jury hearing.

Rogers’ wife testified that she drove to the storage facility with her children. When she got out of her car, Rogers opened fire with a shotgun and shot her in the arm. She got back into her vehicle as Rogers continued shooting, and she testified that she saw a man’s body on the ground as she drove away, according to transcripts of the grand jury hearing.

Another witness told police that he drove his truck in between Rogers and his wife’s vehicle to block the gunfire.

According to court transcripts, Rogers was showing paranoid behavior during an interview with police. He talked about officers “being Russian or German spies,” and claimed that his wife had hired people “to get him.”

Rogers described being at the storage unit and seeing a man “running up to him.” Rogers said he believed the man “was trying to get him so he had to shoot him,” according to the transcripts.

He said he opened fire with his shotgun at his wife and children because he believed they were “opposition enemies.”

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 26.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240.

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