A Chicago-area security guard was working extra shifts to buy gifts for his son’s first Christmas when he was shot by an officer while on duty at a bar early Sunday.
CNN reports, Jemel Roberson bravely tried to detain a gunman who opened fire at Manny’s Blue Room, only to be killed by an Illinois police officer who was responding to the shooting.
Sadly, Roberson’s life was cut short leaving behind a pregnant girlfriend and a 9-month-old son. The security guards family is still trying to piece together the events that led to his death.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the 26-year-old’s family and protesters are holding the Midlothian Police Department responsible for his untimely death. The family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the department.
The Illinois State Police, however, dispute some basic facts of the case.
Police say Roberson refused to put down his gun. However, witnesses say otherwise.
Dorian Myrickes, 43, who was injured during the shooting told the Tribune that the officer warned Roberson to drop his gun and fired off shots “not even 5 seconds” after the warning.
Yet, Myrickes’ account differs from what was reported by The Associated Press. The AP reports that Myrickes said Roberson never heard the officer tell him to drop his gun.
A second witness said Roberson wasn’t given time to identify himself before being told to get on the ground.
According to witnesses, as the AP reports, the security guard was wearing a hat and sweatshirt that displayed the word “Security.” Although, according to the police report, Roberson was wearing “plain black clothing with no markings readily identifying him as a Security Guard.”
In a statement to CNN, Illinois State Police said:
According to witness statements, the Midlothian Officer gave the armed subject multiple verbal commands to drop the gun and get on the ground before ultimately discharging his weapon and striking” [the security guard].
The officer who shot Roberson remains unidentified. Police Chief Daniel Delaney described the shooting as:
“The equivalent of a ‘blue on blue,’ friendly fire incident.”
In his statement on Wednesday, Delaney added:
What we have also learned is Jemel Roberson was a very brave man who was doing his best to end an active shooter situation at Manny’s Blue Room.
The Midlothian Police Department is completely saddened by this tragic incident and we give our heartfelt condolences to Jemel, his mother, his entire family and his friends. There are no words that can be expressed as to the sorrow his family is dealing with.
The unnamed officer has since been placed on administrative leave while state police investigate the shooting.
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