'J.J. the Gray Whale' Rescuer Is Charged With Attempted Murder

Encino-born Terry Rogaczewski is arrested in Las Vegas.

Terry Rogaczewski, a marine animal rescuer who was born in Encino and who played an instrumental role in saving “J.J. the Gray Whale,” a stranded whale in Marina del Rey in 1997, was charged with attempted murder on Monday by Las Vegas prosecutors, according to the Las Vegas Sun and the L.A. Times.

On Nov. 3 at about 9:30 p.m., police received a call regarding a man shooting in an apartment complex parking lot, according to the Sun. When police arrived at the scene, Rogaczewski allegedly pointed a gun at police and they shot him as he attempted to get into a car.

He has been charged with attempted murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of discharging a firearm into a vehicle and two counts of resisting a police officer, according to the Sun.

Rogaczewski spent much of his time in Southern California rescuing dolphins, seals and other marine animals. He worked at the Point Mugu Wildlife Center in the late 1990s and often helped lifeguards when animals where in danger.  

In January 1997, Rogaczewski kept a vigil all night on a stranded beached whale in Marina del Rey and helped lifeguards save the mammal when it was spotted in the marina channel. He and other rescuers swam with the whale toward the beach, and once rescued, the whale was taken to SeaWorld. 

J.J the Gray Whale was released on March 31, 1998, and no sightings have been reported since its release, according to SeaWorld.


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