Pa. police subdue man attacking cops with samurai sword
Officer counters sword attack with Baker Batshield
By Stephanie Farr
The Philadelphia Daily News
PHILADELPHIA — Mr. Rogers he was not.
Armed with a samurai sword adorned with swastikas and a skull, 36-year-old George Rogers attacked an Upper Darby officer who responded to his suicidal 9-1-1 call Sunday, police said.
It was not a beautiful day in Rogers' neighborhood when he called 9-1-1 about 12:30 a.m. and said he'd just doused the rowhouse apartment he shares with his mother in gasoline, according to police.
Rogers, who threatened to torch the residence and kill himself with a crossbow while on the phone with police dispatch, was found barricaded in a back room of the apartment on Dayton Road near Cheswold, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
With Rogers spouting suicidal and homicidal threats, Officer Dan Lanni of the department's special-reaction team armed himself with a "bat shield," which is an oversize Kevlar shield shaped like a bat, and pushed past the barricaded door, Chitwood said.
Lanni was immediately attacked by Rogers, who wielded the sword so forcefully that its blade was bent in the assault, Chitwood said.
The shield protected Lanni from the downward blows, but Chitwood said had the sword gotten past the shield, it would have been "sturdy enough to put in your heart and rip it out."
During the attack, the commanding officer on scene, Lt. Mike Kehrle, used a stun gun on Rogers, causing him to "fall like a sack of potatoes," Chitwood said.
He was transported to the crisis unit of Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby, where he was evaluated and released within seven hours.
"He was released from the crisis unit before our officers went home," Chitwood said.
Rogers was subsequently charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons offenses. He was remanded to the Delaware County Prison where he remained last night in lieu of $75,000 bail.
"We dubbed George Rogers the 'Last Samurai' because he's not going to be swinging any more knives or swords trying to kill cops anymore," Chitwood said.
Police did not find any accelerants, like the gasoline Rogers claimed to have poured over the apartment, but they did find an arsenal of weaponry in his bedroom, including nunchucks, a crossbow, a hunting bow, a large sword and several throwing knives.
"He obviously thought he was a real samurai," Chitwood said. "This guy has issues. He's not dealing with a straight deck."
Rogers, who has several arrests on lesser charges in his criminal background, is covered in tattoos, including one on his neck that reads: "Only God can judge."
"He has more tattoos than grass on a lawn," Chitwood said.
Copyright 2009 Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC