A Black security guard was killed by police this weekend as he was apprehending a suspected shooter at his workplace.
Around 4am on Sunday, a group of drunk men was reportedly told by security to leave Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois. According to witnesses, one of them returned with a gun and opened fire. Security shot back, and 26-year-old security guard Jemel Roberson was able to apprehend one of the men involved with the shooting outside the bar. One witness told WGN TV that Roberson had the suspect pinned on the ground with a gun to his back.
Soon after, police arrived to respond to the shooting. One of the officers, who has not yet been identified, fired on Roberson, killing him. “Everybody was screaming out, ‘He was a security guard,'” witness Adam Harris told WGN TV. “And they basically saw a Black man with a gun and killed him.” Authorities have so far released few details about the shooting.
Roberson was known among friends for his musical talent and played drums and keyboard at various churches in the Chicago area. “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 of Purposed Church told WGN TV. She also said Roberson had been hoping to become a police officer, and remarked on the sad irony, saying, “The very people he wanted to be family with, took his life.”
People have been responding to the news with cries for justice, as well as perspective. People often argue that armed security will make places safer, but Roberson was literally killed for being armed security. This complicates the idea often touted by anti-gun-control conservatives that a “good guy with a gun” can effectively stop a shooting.
URGENT: Here is what happens when a good (BLACK) guy with a gun tries to intervene in a mass shooting. #JemelRoberson— Shaun King (@shaunking) November 12, 2018
A beloved church musician in Chicago who moonlighted as a security guard was shot & killed by police after he stopped a mass shooting at an area bar. pic.twitter.com/uRPqEEFqKX
Jemel Roberson was literally the Good Guy with a Gun.— Dan Lavoie (@djlavoie) November 12, 2018
He had single-handedly apprehended a guy who had shot wildly into his bar — and was waiting to turn the guy over to police.
As one witness said, the cops
"basically saw a black man with a gun & killed him."#JemelRoberson https://t.co/VnXDRPKjqZ
My heart goes out to Jemel Roberson's friends & family. It also goes out to everyone I know who is Black and continually dehumanized & targeted by racist killer cops. I'm irate that you & your ancestors have had to experience this racist violence for so long. Abolish the police! https://t.co/T95drZKhwh— #EndIntersexSurgery (@Pidgejen) November 12, 2018
The State Police Public Integrity Task Force is currently investigating the police shooting of Roberson, while local police are investigating the shooting that Roberson stopped.
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H/T WGN TV