Sergeant Roger Rosengren
End of Watch : January 28, 1971
Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
|On Thursday afternoon January 28, 1971 around 2:00 p.m., Sergeant Roger Rosengren was at St. Paul Ramsey Hospital on the 8th floor psychiatric ward where he had been assigned to be in charge of the Ramsey annex at the hospital when it was established three years earlier. |
Sergeant Rosengren and Deputy Michael Tatsak were about to move a patient to the county jail. In accordance with procedure, they checked their weapons in a locker near the emergency room. The incident happened in a corridor near the control desk inside a locked section of the floor. The control clerk at the psychiatric nurse's station stated she warned the officers of the juvenile because he wanted out. The juvenile had been admitted on Tuesday after his probation officer and police arrested him for sniffing paint. A hospital orderly saw the juvenile holding his hand inside his blue hospital pajama shirt, then she saw the gun in his hand. The patient and Rosengren then started to struggle over the gun. It fired and Rosengren was hit by two bullets from the .32 caliber Harrington & Richardson revolver. One bullet went through his hand and the second one struck him in the chest next to his heart. Rosengren then staggered out of the room.
The suspect then took Dr. Stephen Pliska, a hospital intern, hostage after the doctor volunteered to be a hostage when efforts to calm him failed. The juvenile bound the doctor's wrists behind his back with tape but when that didn't work, he used the doctor's belt. The patient refused to let anyone render medical assistance to Rosengren, so it is unknown how long after the shooting he survived. The patient kept yelling "I want out. Oh why won't you let me out?" He then took his hostage, with a gun pointed to his head, into an elevator to the second floor. The police took the stairs. Lieutenant Leroy Thielen, a St. Paul officer, dressed as a doctor, met the youth in the main lobby. The youth ordered him to take off the disguise and was trying to get him to surrender. Doctor Pliska tried talking with the patient but he kept cocking the gun. Finally at 3:15 p.m. Lieutenant Thielen grabbed the weapon that was pointed to Dr. Pliska's ear. The youth was then wrestled to the ground.
It is unknown how the patient got the weapon. Investigators speculate it was smuggled in since, according to the chief of psychiatry, visitors and patients were not searched.
The juvenile was not named. He was 17 years old and was going to be transferred to Woodview Juvenile Detention home within the hour of when this incident happened.
Sergeant Rosengren was 37 years old. He started with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office on December 1, 1960 and he was promoted to sergeant in 1964. He was survived by his wife, Donna, and three children, Stephen, 13, Scot, 11, and Lori Jo, 8. His funeral was held on Monday, February 1 at Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel and he was buried in the cemetery there.
Excerpts of this article taken from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Special thanks to Deputy Mike Servatka, Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
|James T Sackett Sr||Rodney Norberg|