So-called "vigilantes" say woman was screaming for help

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - The mother of a teen who is facing possible prison time for kidnapping and burglary charges said her son is not part of a vigilante group, but a young man who tried to help someone he thought was in trouble.

Cody Rogers, 18, and Michael Schaffran, 32, made their initial appearance in Gautier on Friday afternoon. Rogers' mother, Vicky Reed, said her son dropped out of high school, but he was getting back on the right track by earning a GED and working a steady job. She said it was on the job that he met Schaffran, who she says takes young men under his wing and tries to keep them out of trouble.

At their initial appearance, a judge told Schaffran and Rogers that they are facing multiple counts of kidnapping and burglary of an occupied dwelling. Police allege Schaffran and Rogers went into a house and dragged three people out and assaulted them because the pair thought they were intervening in a domestic dispute.

Rogers' mother talked to the media after the initial appearance. She said that the two men have been wrongly portrayed as part of a vigilante group. Reed said her son and his friend were really answering a woman's cries for help.

"Look at the papers. What they've said about them," said Reed. "Like there's some big regime and they're going around terrorizing people. Home invasions. That's not true."

She said, "He heard screams through the woods. They ran through there. They were trying to help the woman and then she turns around and presses charges."

In court, Schaffran questioned why Rogers had been charged. He said, "He did not enter the dwelling. All he did was stand there. I suggest you should polygraph everyone involved and find out what really happened."

Reed said she cannot afford to post her son's $225,000 bond, which she thinks is unfair.

"He didn't enter the home. He didn't touch anyone. Michael even says so in there, but he's being charged the same as Michael and it's not right," said Reed.

Although police said the men are part of a vigilante group called the Tactical Unit, Reed contends that Schaffran takes her son and other young men to church and to do volunteer work.

"It's just a Christian group. He would keep them together. They would go and exercise and stuff like that. It's not a vigilante group. It's just them exercising and hanging out and helping the public. That's it," said Reed. "The truth always comes out. It says in the Bible that all things will come to the light. This will work itself out and I believe that."

Reed said the two men were wearing black during the incident because that's what they'd worn to work that day. Schaffran is also being held under $225,000 bond.

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