A Black security guard stepped in to prevent a would-be shooter at the bar where he worked, only to be gunned down by an Illinois cop who mistook him for the suspect.
Jemel Roberson, 26, was working security at Manny’s Blue Room Bar around 4 a.m. Sunday when a gun-wielding man entered the Chicago-area pub and opened fire, WGN 9 reported. Roberson returned fire and was able to subdue the man who witnesses said had been thrown out of the bar earlier that evening.
“He had somebody on the ground with his knee in back, with his gun in his back like, ‘Don’t move,'” witness Adam Harris told the station.
Moments later, a Midlothian police officer arrived to the scene where Roberson was holding down the suspect outside. The cop opened fire on Roberson.
Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!’ He was a security guard,” Harris recalled. “And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him.”
The Midlothian Police Department has remained tight-lipped about the shooting but confirmed that two of its officers responded to the scene and that one opened fire. Four other people, including the alleged shooter, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
Police issued a statement saying Roberson had a valid Illinois Firearm Owners Identification card but didn’t have a concealed-carry permit. However, concealed carry permits are not required in Illinois for FOID card holders who are carrying firearms openly in a place of a business with the owner’s permission.
“Upon arrival officers learned there were several gunshot victims inside the bar,” Chief Daniel Delaney of the Midlothian Police Department said in a statement. “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.”
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the initial shooting, while the State Police Public Integrity Task Force is looking into the officer’s decision to fire at Roberson.
Local Reverend LeAundre Hill said he was saddened to hear of yet another Black man gunned down by police, especially one who had risked his life to prevent what could’ve been another mass shooting.
“Once again, it’s the continued narrative that we see of shoot first, ask questions later,” said Hill, who heads Chicago’s Purposed Church.
“How in the world does the security guard get shot by police?” asked Walter Turner, the pastor at New Spiritual Light Baptist Church where Roberson was an organist. “A young man that was literally doing his job and now he’s gone.”
Family and friends remember Roberson as an upstanding guy who loved music and played the keyboard and drums at a number of local churches. Friends said he also had dreams of one day becoming a police officer.
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help with the slain man’s funeral expenses. So far, the page has raised nearly $6,000 in donations.
Watch more in the clip below.