Police shot and wounded an armed man during a brazen robbery attempt at a day care center that functioned as a drug haven, with a trove of marijuana and more than $100,000 in cash in its basement, authorities said Saturday.
Police initially thought the Special Moments Daycare might have been targeted for a holdup Friday because it was payday. But “it appears now that the day care center was a repository for drugs and money,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Special Moments owner Donna Rogers, 37, and her husband, Sherwin Rogers, 36, were arrested Saturday on marijuana-possession charges after police said they found the money and 10 pounds of the drug in the Brooklyn center. The couple lives in the home that houses the center, but it’s unclear whether the husband plays a role in the day care program.
Phone numbers for them rang unanswered Saturday, and police didn’t know whether they had lawyers.
Children were lying down for naps around noon Friday when two men knocked on the day care center’s door and forced their way past an employee who answered, police said. They said a third man stayed outside as a lookout.
The owner’s husband, who was not at the center, called 911 after an employee called him, police said.
When officers arrived a few minutes later, they found Gavin Nugent, 34, in a back room, police said. Children were in another room nearby.
Nugent pointed a gun at officers, who fired three rounds at him and followed him when he ran to the basement, police said.
Following a trail of blood, officers found him in a back room and fired another shot as he tried to escape, police said.
Meanwhile, a police sergeant ushered the roughly 12 children and four staffers calmly to safety, police said. None was hurt, but “my friends were crying,” 2-year-old Yosha Williams told The New York Times.
Her mother, Somalia Williams, said the children were taken to a station house and given pizza.
Nugent was hospitalized in stable condition with gunshot wounds to the torso and left wrist. A woman declined to comment after answering a phone at the Brooklyn address police had for him, and police didn’t know whether he had a lawyer.
Nugent and the other two suspects were arrested on charges including robbery and burglary.