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By Lindsey Bever and Alex Horton (via WashiongtonPost.com) November 14 at 3:07 PM
Jemel Roberson had dreams of becoming a police officer. He was killed by one.
The 26-year-old was working as an armed security guard Sunday when he tried to intervene during a shooting outside a Chicago-area bar. Officers arrived, and — officials later said — saw a man with a gun. A Midlothian police officer opened fire after ordering the man to drop the weapon.
That man was Roberson. He was trying to subdue one of the suspects, investigators later said, when the officer shot him. Roberson later died at a hospital.
Now — amid an uproar and questions about police training and operations — the city’s police chief said he is mourning the loss of Roberson.
Police chief ‘saddened’ after officer killed armed guard — ‘a brave man who was doing his best’
“What we have learned is Jemel Roberson was a brave man who was doing his best to end an active shooter situation at Manny’s Blue Room,” Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney wrote Tuesday on Facebook. “The Midlothian Police Department is completely saddened by this tragic incident and we give our heartfelt condolences to Jemel, his family and his friends. There are no words that can be expressed as to the sorrow his family is dealing with.”
The department has not released the name of the officer, who has been put on administrative leave.
[‘They basically saw a black man with a gun’: Police kill armed guard while responding to call]
According to a federal lawsuit filed by Beatrice Roberson, her son was working security early Sunday at Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Ill., when “some patrons shot the bartender and others were shot.”
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois, says Roberson’s civil rights were violated.
Family attorney Gregory Kulis said Roberson’s mother just wants to know “what happened and why it happened,” adding: “If somebody took your son, you’d want answers, too.”
Investigators said the police response began after reports of gunfire in a dispute at the bar after 4 a.m. on Sunday. Officers from two departments, including Midlothian’s, arrived to find Roberson armed and trying to subdue a suspect in a parking lot.
The officer who killed Roberson “gave the armed subject multiple verbal commands to drop the gun and get on the ground” before he fired, according to a preliminary report by the Illinois State Police that cited witnesses. Officers provided medical aid to multiple victims, including Roberson, the report found.
But the report did not say how long the officer waited before he fired or whether he identified himself as a police officer. Investigators also appear to distance officers from accountability to determine who is a threat, and who is not.
Roberson wore “no markings readily identifying him as a security guard,” the report found.