Less than a week after Aiken Public Safety officers removed the black mourning badges from their uniforms in memory of an officer killed, the department is suffering another in-the-line of duty death.About 7:35 a.m. Saturday, Aiken Public Safety Officer Master Public Safety Cpl. Sandy Rogers was responding to a resident's concerns about a suspicious vehicle in Eustis Park when she was gunned down.Rogers found the accused gunman, Joshua Jones, 26, in a 2002 blue BMW that he had reportedly stolen from his father, James Jones of North Augusta, and an altercation ensued, police said.State agents investigating the officer's death have not said the number of times she was shot or where the fatal blow struck her, only that Jones has a history of gun violations.A minute after she reported being out with the blue vehicle, another officer called for her.She did not respond, and a fellow officer on her shift called out that shots had been fired and an officer was down.Rogers had been shot, and EMS was notified, officials said.Officers followed after the fleeing BMW and pursued the accused shooter in excess of 100 mph from the park and issued an all-points bulletin search for him and the stolen vehicle.Sgt. Karl Odenthal was overheard on police radio traffic during the pursuit saying, "I am going 110 (miles per hour), and he is still leaving me in the dust."Officers lost sight of the accused shooter and called on a helicopter to aid in the search."As the investigation continued with assistance from (the Aiken County Sheriff's Office), the State Law Enforcement Division and other agencies, a suspect was developed and later taken into custody by officers," said Aiken Public Safety Director Charles Barranco.Around 11:30 a.m., Jones was taken into custody at his residence on Youman Street in Batesburg.He faces murder and weapons charges and is being held at the Aiken County detention center.Richmond County authorities said Jones is a suspect in the shooting death of his pregnant girlfriend, Cayce Vice, 21, of Augusta. She was found dead in her apartment Saturday morning around 10:30 a.m., but it was not clear how long she had been dead.In response to the chain of events, Aiken Public Safety's newly appointed director held an emotional press conference recognizing Rogers' service to the community.He was among community leaders and dozens of fellow law enforcement officers from numerous agencies when he addressed the media.An Aiken native, Rogers was born on Feb. 11, 1963.She began her career with Aiken Public Safety in January of 1984 and worked her way up the ladder, receiving multiple awards and commendations."Master Cpl. Rogers was an invaluable street cop who exemplified the model of a Public Safety officer," said Barranco. "Master Cpl. Rogers was a highly skilled investigator and senior patrol officer on her shift."Click here to see the Aiken Standard's page dedicated to Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers.
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