Police Killed the Hero Who Stopped the Shooter

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Police Killed the Hero Who Stopped the Shooter

Michaela Fromme, Editor in Chief

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A verbal dispute broke out between several drunk patrons in Illinois on Sunday, November 11. After being asked to leave by security, one man returned with a gun and opened fire. 26-year-old Jemel Roberson, an African American security guard working at the bar that night, managed to apprehend the shooter. When police responded to the crime, Roberson was seen with a gun, which he was licensed to carry as a security guard, and, without hesitation, was shot by a white officer.

Around 4 a.m., outside of Manny’s Blue Room Lounge in Robbins, policed arrived at the scene of the shooting, where 3 people and the alleged shooter were injured. Outside of the bar, Roberson “had somebody on the ground … with his knee in back, with his gun in his back like, ‘Don’t move,’” a witness named Adam Harris said. “We all yelled, ‘He’s a security. He’s a security.’ And without … giving any thought, they shot him … they shot him in the side.” Roberson was brought to a hospital where he later died.

A lawsuit, which seeks more than $1 million in damages, was filed by Roberson’s mother on November 12, which called her son’s death “excessive and unreasonable” and claims it violated his civil rights.

“Jemel was trying to save people’s lives. He was working security because a shooting had just taken place in the establishment,” Gregory Kulis, the family’s attorney told CNN. “So, he was doing his job and holding on to somebody until … police arrived. And a police officer, our feeling is, did not make the proper assessment and fired and killed Jemel.”

Dorian Myrickes, another security guard working at the bar that night, and one of the four injured in the shooting, said that the officer who shot Roberson did not ask him to drop his weapon or give any verbal warning before firing. The Illinois State Police department’s excuse for firing was Roberson’s clothing, which was described as “plain black clothing with no marking readily identifying him as a Security Guard.” However, the word ‘Security’ was printed on Roberson’s hat and on the back shoulder of his shirt. The officer involved in the shooting is a seven-year veteran police officer, who is currently on paid leave as the Illinois State Police investigate the officer-involved shooting.

The suspected gunman who opened fire in the bar shooting has not yet been charged, and is being treated in the hospital for injuries that are not life-threatening.

Roberson was preparing a career in the police department. “The very people that he wanted to be family with took his life,” said the Rev. Patricia Hill of Purposed Church.

A vigil was held on the night of November 12 by loved ones and supporters outside of Manny’s Blue Room Lounge, the bar where the shooting occurred.

The question remains whether Roberson’s death remains an act of racism, with discrimination automatically placing him, because of his skin tone and the gun in his possession, as violent.