When police arrived on the scene of a shooting over the weekend at a bar outside Chicago, witnesses say Jemel Roberson, a 26-year-old security guard who worked there, had already subdued the alleged assailant, pinning him to the ground.
Adam Harris, who was at Manny’s Blue Bar in Robbins at the time of the incident on Sunday, told WGN-TV that Roberson was holding “somebody on the ground with his knee in his back, with his gun in his back” when officers from neighboring Midlothian got there early Sunday.
That’s when Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney said one of his officers “encountered a subject with a gun” and shot him, according to a statement given to the media.
But the “subject” was Roberson, not the suspect in the bar shooting.
Witnesses say Roberson was wearing his uniform, including a hat emblazoned with the word “security” and was holding a firearm he was licensed to carry.
Midlothian police confirmed that two officers responded to the scene at bar on Sunday and that one of them opened fire.
“Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!'” Harris told WGN. “And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him.”
Roberson was declared dead shortly after arriving at a hospital. Four others at the scene, including the suspected shooter, sustained non life-threatening injuries, police said.
Delaney said that the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and the Robbins Police Department were investigating the shooting.
Roberson was the father of a nine-month-old son. “This was going to be my baby’s first Christmas with his dad and now he’s going to miss out on everything,” Avontea Boose, the child’s mother, told The Associated Press.
Roberson was also a musician for churches in his community. “Every artist he’s ever played for, every musician he’s ever sat beside, we’re all just broken because we have no answers,” Rev. Patricia Hill told WGN.
She added Roberson had dreamed of being a police officer. “He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life,” Hill said.
Roberson’s family filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Midlothian police department and the officer who shot him, seeking damages of $1 million.
A GoFundMe page has also been established to raise money for funeral costs. Family and friends held a vigil Monday evening at the nightclub where he was killed.