‘We want answers’: Family and friends demand justice for black security guard killed by white officer

‘We want answers’: Family and friends demand justice for black security guard killed by white officer
Jemel Roberson had dreams of becoming a police officer himself, family said.

CHICAGO (CNN) - The family of a black security guard shot and killed by a white police officer in Illinois is suing that officer and the municipality he works for.

They allege the officer shot the guard after the victim apprehended a suspect that authorities were seeking.

Around 4 a.m. last Sunday, Jemel Roberson was working at Manny's Blue Room in suburban Chicago when someone opened fire, injuring several people.

Roberson was able to tackle and subdue the shooter, preventing more people from being shot.

While police from several departments responded, an officer from the neighboring town of Midlothian saw Roberson holding down the shooter.

The officer opened fire, killing the 26-year-old.

There are conflicting accounts of whether Roberson was wearing clothing identifying him as security and whether or not he followed instructions to drop his gun when police arrived.

A preliminary police report claims Roberson was not wearing visible security markings.

His family and friends paint a different picture. though, claiming that before Roberson was shot, people inside the bar yelled warnings at police that he was a security guard.

"The problem with Jemel is he was black. And this mystery officer needs to be fired,” said Father Michael Pfleger at a rally on Friday.

The officer has not yet been identified.

Roberson’s brother said at a vigil that the situation was “under control” until the officer decided to start firing.

"After everybody told you that, including the 70 people that was out here, you intentionally fired that one time. After you fired that one time, you shot my little brother four more times,” he said.

Family and friends said Roberson had dreams of being a cop himself, and was preparing to take a police exam in the spring.

He played the organ for several churches and was working part time at the bar in order to support his 9-month-old son.

"My baby's not going to have his father for Christmas, his birthday, any holidays anymore,” said the child’s mother, Avontea Boose.

The Midlothian Police Department said in a statement that it was “completely saddened by this tragic incident and we give our heartfelt condolences to Jemel, his family and his friends. We view this as the equivalent of a 'blue on blue,' friendly fire incident."

The department said the still-unnamed seven-year veteran who shot Roberson has been put on paid administrative leave.

Illinois State Police are investigating the shooting and have also released a statement, referring to Roberson as an “armed subject.”

"According to witness statements, the Midlothian officer gave the armed subject multiple verbal commands to drop the gun and get on the ground before ultimately discharging his weapon and striking the subject,” it said.

At Friday’s rally, community leaders gathered to demand the officer be fired.

Pastor Walter Turner called him a “national hero.”

Another pastor, Leaundre Hill, said he “saved lives that night only to lose his life senselessly.”

“So we want answers. We want results. And we want them now,” Hill said.

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