Sharon Rogers speaks of terror

SAN DIEGO -- In her first public interview since escaping the bombing of her van, the wife of the Navy captain who ordered the downing of an Iranian passenger jet said her 'life has completely done a turnaround' and called for the public to help find the bombers.

'We just must realize that someone is out there who committed a very cowardly act,' Sharon Rogers said in a San Diego Crime Stoppers tape that will begin airing on local television stations Monday as a public service announcement.


'And together as a community we have to find out who it is so that it doesn't happen to anyone else. It could be me last week. It could be you tomorrow.'

Rogers, wife of Navy Capt. Will Rogers III, barely escaped when a bomb detonated March 10 under her van at a La Jolla intersection. Some officials believe a terrorist set the bomb in retaliation for her husband's decision aboard the Vincennes to shoot down, mistakenly, an Iranian civilian airliner over the Persian Gulf last summer, killing all 290 people aboard.

After the bombing, Rogers was fired from her fourth-grade teaching job at La Jolla Country Day School by school officials who feared for the safety of the children.


'My life has been threatened ... my family has been threatened,' she said. 'I have lost my job. I can't go back to my home. And my life has completely done a turnaround.'

In the interview for the Crime Stoppers broadcast, Rogers described graphic details of the bombing for the first time.

'I'd been sitting at the red light for maybe 20 or 30 seconds when I felt that I had been rear-ended from the back by a car going very fast. At the same time I heard an explosion. I opened up the door. I smelled burning. I got my seat belt off as quickly as I could.

'I jumped out, ran around the back of the van, where I saw the back third of the van on fire and I ran to the curb, where a construction worker took me by the arm. His first question to me was, 'Is anyone else in the van?' And I said, 'No.' He questioned me again and I said, 'No.'

'He then put me up into the cab of (his) van, where I think he gave me a jacket to put around me and I saw that he had a cellular phone and it's then when I asked him to call my husband, and he did.


'And I sat there and watched my van burning.'

Rogers head was 'masked' during the taped segment recorded Tuesday at police headquarters and it was difficult to make out her facial figures.

San Diego police officials said the 60-second spot, which included the interview and a reenactment of the explosion, will be shown for a week as a public service announcement.

The Crime Stoppers broadcast will also inform viewers that $37,000 in reward money has been posted and asked that information be called in to the 619-235-TIPS hot line.

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