Robber told pharmacist, ‘Today is my day to die’

Scott Ricci stared down the barrel of the 12-gauge shotgun and complied with the demands of the man holding the weapon.

Moments earlier, the gunman, a disheveled older white man wearing a baseball cap over his shoulder-length hair, entered the Henderson drugstore and matter-of-factly said he had cancer and needed Percocet.

Then his tone harshened.

"This isn’t a joke, give me all your Percocet," the man yelled late Monday morning inside the NDC Pharmacy on Horizon Ridge Parkway near Seven Hills Drive.

Fearing for his life and the lives of his co-workers, Ricci, the pharmacy’s director, grabbed some of the prescription drugs and gave them to the gunman who had invaded the employees-only area.

"He said, ‘Today you’re not going to die. Today is my day to die,"’ Ricci recalled Tuesday.

The robber then downed a few of the painkillers.

He made Ricci lie on the ground and left the drugstore, driving away in what Ricci believed to be a Toyota Celica.

Ricci said no customers were inside the pharmacy during the robbery. The ordeal lasted five to 10 minutes but seemed like forever, Ricci said.

Police identified the gunman as Anthony Rogers, 60. The NDC robbery happened at 11:35 a.m., with Rogers taking both Percocet and oxycodone, Henderson police said.

"Clearly he was not a hardened criminal," Ricci said of Rogers. "This was an act of desperation."

The robbery set off a chain of events that led to an exchange of gunfire between Rogers and five officers at The District at Green Valley Ranch about 12 minutes after the pharmacy robbery. The shopping complex is more than three miles northeast of the pharmacy.

Police said Rogers fired at least two shotgun blasts at police, but no officers were seriously injured. Shoppers at the complex on Green Valley Parkway near the Las Vegas Beltway were also uninjured.

Rogers was wounded by gunfire from officers and remained at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center on Tuesday. Hospital officials, who declined to release his condition Monday, could not be reached Tuesday. Police said Rogers has been booked by proxy on five counts of attempted murder and one count of robbery with a deadly weapon.

Keith Paul, a spokesman for Henderson police, declined to comment Tuesday on whether Rogers was suicidal, citing the ongoing investigation.

Rogers has no known criminal history, according to Clark County court records.

Chris Collins, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association, which represents about 2,800 officers with the Metropolitan Police Department, said incidents such as the one involving Rogers are not that uncommon in law enforcement.

In general, Collins said, "suicide by cop," a term used to describe a suspect who forces police to kill him or her, is an "occupational hazard."

"If driven enough, if hell-bent enough, there is nothing police can do to avoid that," Collins said. "If you point a gun at a police officer, they are going to return fire."

Henderson police said after Monday’s robbery, patrol officers spotted Rogers’ vehicle on Horizon Ridge. He turned onto Green Valley Parkway about 11:45 a.m. Officers turned on their police lights to get Rogers to pull over, but he did not stop.

A motorcycle officer was blocking off traffic on Green Valley Parkway. Police said Rogers pointed the shotgun out of his window and fired at the officer, striking the motorcycle and causing minor injuries to the officer.

Rogers then turned into The District, where he was confronted by five officers. Rogers drove into a traffic circle, stepped out of his car and fired again at officers, police said.

All five officers returned fire. It’s not known how many times Rogers was shot.

Under Henderson police policy, the names of the officers involved in the shooting won’t be released until 48 hours after the incident. The officers have been placed on routine, paid-administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

Rogers lived in a neighborhood near Valle Verde Drive and Warm Springs Road where the ranch-style homes have well-tended front yards. A man at Rogers’ home Tuesday afternoon ordered a reporter off the property. Other neighbors refused to talk about Rogers.

One neighbor, who declined to give his name, said he spoke with Rogers’ mother Tuesday, offering her a phone number in case she needed anything.

The man said he hadn’t seen Rogers in a long time. "He keeps a real low profile," the neighbor said.

He added that even Rogers’ mother was stunned by Monday’s shooting.

"We are all trying to understand what happened."

Contact reporter Antonio Planas at aplanas@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4638.

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