Jemel Roberson is an Illinois security guard who was wrongly shot by police responding to a shooting at a bar early Sunday morning. The 26-year-old apprehended one of the men involved in the shooting when a responding officer mistook him for the suspect and opened fire, witnesses told Chicago’s WGN-TV.
Witnesses told the outlet that a Midlothian police officer responding to the shooting at Manny’s Blue Room Bar fatally shot Roberson. Witnesses said that the security guard had asked a group of intoxicated patrons to leave when one of them came back with a gun and opened fire. Security shot back.
During the exchange, Roberson apprehended one of the men outside of the bar, witness Adam Harris said.
“He had somebody on the ground with his knee in back, with his gun in his back like, ‘Don’t move,'” Harris told WGN.
Witnesses say that was when a responding officer fired at Roberson, killing him.
“Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!’ He was a security guard,” Harris said. “And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him.”
Jemel Roberson died at a nearby hospital early Sunday morning.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Jemel Roberson Had Valid Firearms ID, Not Concealed-Carry License
Roberson had a valid Firearms Owners Identification Card (FOID), which is required for all gun owners in Illinois, but did not have a concealed-carry permit, a spokesperson for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office told WGN.
Midlothian police confirmed that an officer shot Roberson after seeing him with a gun.
“Upon arrival officers learned there were several gunshot victims inside the bar,” Midlothian police Chief Dan Delaney said, according to ABC Chicago. “A Midlothian Officer encountered a subject with a gun and was involved in an Officer involved shooting. The subject the Officer shot was later pronounced deceased at an area hospital”
ABC Chicago reports that because it was an officer-involved shooting, the Illinois State Police is investigating the incident while the Cook County Sheriff is assisting with the criminal investigation.
“It is the policy of the Midlothian Police Department to utilize the Illinois State Police Public Integrity Task Force for any officer-involved shootings so we can ensure transparency and maintain public trust,” Midlothian police told The Chicago Sun-Times.
2. Four Other People Were Injured in The Shooting
Cook County officials said that four other people, including the suspected shooter, all suffered injuries in the incident. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Witness Mark Harris told Fox 32 that patrons tried to warn the officer that the man holding a gun was a security guard.
“The security guard that got killed, he caught somebody and had his knee on him the whole time,” Harris told the station. “Just waiting on the police to get there. I guess when the police got there, they probably thought he was one of the bad guys, cause he had his gun on the guy and they shot him.”
3. Jemel Roberson Was a Musician
Friends told WGN that Roberson was a musician who often played the keyboard or drums at local community events. He was also the organist at the New Spiritual Light Baptist Church in Chicago.
The church’s pastor, Walter Turner, told ABC Chicago that he had just spoken to Roberson on Thursday.
“He said, ‘Ma and pops, I’ll see you all Sunday and I jokingly said, ‘You better make sure you’re on time for morning worship. He said, ‘I’ll be there pops. I’ll see you then,'” Turner said.
“How in the world does the security guard get shot by police?” Turner asked. “A young man that was literally doing his job and now he’s gone.”
4. Friends Describe Roberson as a Church-Going ‘Man of God’ Who Wanted to Be a Police Officer
Friends and church leaders told WGN that Roberson had “plans to become a police officer.”
“Every artist he’s ever played for every musician he’s ever sat beside, we’re all just broken because we have no answers,” the Rev. Patricia Hill of Purposed Church told the outlet. “He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life.
“Once again, it’s the continued narrative that we see of shoot first, ask questions later,” the Rev. LeAundre Hill of Purposed Church told WGN.
5. A GoFundMe Campaign is Trying to Raise Money For Jemel Roberson’s Funeral Costs
A GoFundMePage has been set up to help Jemel Roberson’s family pay for his funeral costs.
The page says:
Jemel Roberson was a young man who was greatly loved by all who knew him. He was the light of his mother Beatrice’s life, and was a devoted loving son. Jemel was a gifted basketball player and musician, and his love for God and his family were at the forefront of his life. Sadly, Jemel’s life was tragically and unexpectedly cut short this morning as he tried to save others from senseless violence. Today, many remember him as a hero; one who put others before himself.
To honor Jemel’s memory, a GoFundMe account has been started in hopes of collecting donations that will cover his burial expenses. For those who can donate to help the Roberson family in this tremendously difficult time, your generosity is greatly appreciated.