Home / National News / Oklahoma Woman Sympathizes with Gunman Who Took Her Hostage


(NORMAN, Okla.) — Jennifer Shokat hid underneath her desk, terrified. The paralegal was at work Monday when a gunman shot his way into her Norman, Oklahoma, law office.

“I just dove down as soon as I heard the shots,” Shokat said.

But the man — identified as Devin Rogers — saw Shokat, and told her to stand.

“He said, ‘I’m not going to hurt you,’” she told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

Shokat started crying. The wife and mother of two was worried. She didn’t believe Rogers right away. But he kept his word, holding Shokat hostage for four hours, long after dozens of others in the buildings got out, but not harming her.

Throughout the ordeal, Shokat, 32, texted her family and friends, trying to assure them she was safe. She texted her sister: “There’s a gunman in the office. Please call mom. This is no joke.” She also interacted with her husband, co-workers and boss, maintaining communications with the outside world as her friends and family worried about her safety.

Shokat says Rogers, 29, was courteous, even asking her permission to smoke a cigarette.

“I was like, ‘By all means, if you need a cigarette,’” she told him.

Shokat sympathizes with Rogers’ situation. He told her he was a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He randomly chose the building. He saw cars in the parking lot.

“He had no more value to society. He had come back and could not find any work that would pay above minimum wage, and he said that he just wanted to go to jail, but he wanted to negotiate terms,” she said.

The paralegal kept Rogers talking about war, politics, anything. She says she backed off when Rogers appeared agitated.

“I think survival instinct kicks in,” Shokat said. “I was just winging it, basically.”

Shokat said Rogers negotiated his surrender using a phone provided by police with the paralegal providing assistance. Rogers eventually signed an agreement and allowed Shokat to leave.

SWAT crews were waiting nearby, taking Rogers into custody. He was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center, facing various complaints against him: kidnapping, weapons, assault and battery charges and discharging firearms. He will be charged in district court Wednesday.

Shokat says she has sympathy for Rogers.

“I think he needs to get the help he needs. I do not feel like, you know, he was a psychopath. I feel like he was a person who had just snapped,” she said.

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