State Law Enforcement Division agents released a sketch Saturday of a man they’re describing as “a person of interest” in the shooting that critically wounded a Berkeley County deputy late Thursday.
A witness who came forward described the man as black, between 5-foot-10 and 5-foot-11, and 150 to 170 pounds, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said. He has dark hair with a reddish tint toward the forehead, he said.
Lt. Will Rogers survived a surgery early Friday. He was taken off a ventilator by Saturday afternoon and was reportedly talking and recognizing family members, a county spokesman Michael Mule said.
“While doctors are cautiously optimistic, Lt. Will Rogers is still considered in critical but stable condition,” he said via social media.
Rogers, 54, of Summerville, was shot about 10:30 p.m. Thursday while talking to a customer outside the Exxon at U.S. Highway 52 and Cypress Gardens Road. A masked man then carjacked a black Hyundai Santa Fe and fled the scene.
Authorities searched nearby woods for a gunman in the hours after the shooting but came up short. Investigators reported at the time that they had several leads and were shifting their focus to the tips that turned up during the manhunt.
One man watched Thursday night as a masked gunman walked out of a wooded area and fired three shots at Rogers from a silver-colored revolver, striking him in the back of the head, according to an incident report from the Moncks Corner Police Department.
The witness lingered long enough to watch the masked man point a gun at the driver of a black SUV, before running away, the report said. He told investigators he feared that the gunman intended to shoot people at random.
A Moncks Corner officer who responded to the scene saw Rogers lying on the ground while a woman held his head. Blood had pooled on the ground beneath the wound, the officer said. He noticed more blood on the deputy’s forehead above his left eye, the report said.
Asked what happened, Rogers replied that he didn’t know, but he complained of his head hurting, the report said. “He kept trying to sit up,” the officer said in the report. “I placed my hand on his chest and told him to lay down because he had been shot.”
Rogers then wrapped his hand around to touch the back of his head, denying knowledge of the injury, the report said.
Rogers remained hospitalized Saturday at Medical University Hospital, Berry said.
Rogers is engaged and has several children. He has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 1991 and was one of 15 people who recently ran for sheriff of the county, but he did not advance out of last month’s primary.
Before that, he spent a year with the Moncks Corner Police Department. He was with the S.C. Highway Patrol from 1984 to 1990. He served in the Marines from 1980 to 1984.
The man depicted in the sketch was considered a person of interest and was wanted for questioning, Berry said. He had not been located or identified Saturday night.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.