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David Creed Rogers, 84; deputy shot in suspected racist attack in 1965

March 04, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

David Creed Rogers, one of two black men shot by snipers after being hired as deputies in southeast Louisiana's Washington Parish four decades ago, has died. He was 84.

Rogers' death Monday at Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Franklinton, La., came days after the FBI said it was chasing new leads in the 1965 shooting that left him blind in one eye and killed his partner, Oneal Moore. The cause of death was not released.

In 1964, Rogers and Moore were the first black law enforcement officers in the parish, about an hour north of New Orleans. They were shot in Varnado, a lumber and paper mill town, the night of June 2, 1965, a year after they were hired. At the time, the Ku Klux Klan was said to be operating in the parish and racial tensions were high.

Rogers said in an interview later that the two deputies noticed they were being trailed by a pickup truck with a Confederate flag emblem on its front bumper. When they crossed some railroad tracks on the way to Moore's home, the pickup pulled closer to the patrol car and gunmen in the truck bed opened fire. Moore was killed instantly; Rogers lost an eye. Gunfire blew out every window in the police cruiser.

In a 2002 interview with The Times, Rogers said he tried not to think about the night of the attack.

"I've made up my mind I'm never going to find out who did this to us."

Rogers remained with the Sheriff's Department until 1988, retiring as a captain. Hours after the shooting, two suspects were arrested in Tylertown, Miss., but no charges were filed by the prosecuting attorney because of a lack of evidence.

Last week, the FBI announced it had reopened the case because of new leads. It had previously been reopened in 1990 and again in 2001. The prime suspect died in 2003.

"We have some very hot leads on this case," said Jim Bernazzani, special agent in charge of the FBI in New Orleans. On its Louisiana website, the FBI is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the indictment, arrest, and conviction of anyone responsible for the shootings.

The case is one of dozens involving slayings that were suspected of being racially motivated in the South during the 1950s and '60s that the FBI says it is reopening or considering reopening.

Creed is survived by son Larry Rogers of Gautier, Miss.; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

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