A security guard who did his best to respond to a gunfight in Manny’s Blue Room Tavern got fatally shot by a Midlothian police officer on Sunday. Police officers from several south suburban police departments like Robbins, Midlothian and the Cook County responded to the call of shots fired at about 4:00 a.m.
The officer, who has not been identified, has worked for the department for seven years and is a member of the South Suburban Emergency Response Team, officials said.
Officials said Roberson had been working security at Manny’s early Sunday when a verbal altercation involving several men happened. The incident escalated when one of the men opened fire inside the bar.
Several police agencies responded to the scene including Robbins, Midlothian and the Cook County sheriff’s office.
A lawsuit was filed against the unidentified Midlothian police officer for using excessive force after shooting the on-duty security guard who only responded to the shooting incident.
The shooting was “unprovoked,” “unjustified” and “unreasonable,” the lawsuit alleges.
Karen Sheley, an official of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, condemned the shooting and released this statement:
“Working as a security guard while black should not be a death sentence. In this case, police were more dangerous to him than an active shooter who he appeared to subdue.
Here, a police officer’s assumptions about Mr Roberson, apparently impacted by bias, rather than a clear-headed assessment of the situation, resulted in a tragedy.”
The 26-year old Roberson was pronounced dead at a Cook County hospital. The medical examiner ruled Roberson’s death as a homicide from multiple gunshot wounds.
Delaney issued this statement:
“Jemel Roberson was a brave man who was doing his best to end an active shooter situation at Manny’s Blue Room. 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.”
Officials were able to confirm that Roberson had a valid firearm owner’s identification card and was licensed by the state to work armed security.
In addition to Roberson, four other men at the tavern were wounded in the exchange of gunfire; but Roberson was the only one shot by police. The victims were transported to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island.
The other shooting victims, including the man believed to have initially opened fire inside the bar, are all expected to survive.
Robbins Police Chief Roy Wells said the incident began as a verbal confrontation involving several men. The incident escalated when one of the men ran outside briefly, only to return with a pistol and began firing shots.
Roberson is survived by an infant son and his mother, Beatrice Roberson. The deceased security guard was apparently also a musician, according to her mother.
“He was an organist and a loving son. He played at different churches. A good person, a hard working person. He loved his family, a church-going person.”
Roberson also had plans of becoming a police officer and was preparing to train for the role. Rev. Patricia Hill of Purposed Church said:
He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life.”
The Cook County Sheriff’s Office is handling the criminal investigation of the original shooting, while the State Police Public Integrity Task Force is investigating the police-involved shooting.