Police in Robbins, Illinois, shot and killed the wrong man, early Sunday morning.
According to witnesses at Manny’s Blue Bar, armed security guards approached a group of intoxicated men and asked them to leave.
One of those in the group, who did not appreciate being thrown out of the establishment, returned with a gun and opened fire.
The security guards returned fire. Four people were treated for non-life-threatening injuries including the suspected shooter.
One security guard, Jemel Roberson, had nabbed one of the men involved in the shooting outside the bar.
Adam Harris, a witness of the event said,
“He (Roberson) had somebody on the ground with his knee in back, with his gun in his back like, ‘Don’t move,'”
Soon after, police began to arrive on scene, and one officer mistook Roberson for the threat, shot and killed him.
“Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!’ He was a security guard. And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him.” Harris said.
According to Midlothian PD Chief Daniel Delaney in a statement about the shooting:
“A Midlothian officer encountered a subject with a gun and was involved in an officer-involved shooting. The subject the officer shot was later pronounced deceased at an area hospital,”
A Cook County Sheriff’s Office Spokeswoman reported that Roberson did have a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID), but did not possess a concealed carry license.
Roberson was well loved in his community for his musical skills, which he used in his service for several churches in the area and had plans to join the police department.
“He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life,” Rev. Patricia Hill of Purposed Church said of Roberson.
Another Reverend, LeAundre Hill, said:
“Once again, it’s the continued narrative that we see of shoot first, ask questions later,”
The investigation of the shooting which set off the events is being investigated by Cook County Sheriff’s Office, while the shooting by police is being investigated by the State Police Public Integrity Task Force.
Police officers sometimes must make snap decisions during a crisis, making it a very difficult and stressful occupation.
While this tragedy is extremely sad that a brave young man lost his life attempting to protect others, civilians must be aware of how extremely difficult it is to make the right choice when chaos ensues.
Being an armed citizen carries with it enormous responsibility and risk. Here are some things to help keep you safe when police arrive.
- If possible, make sure to tell the person(s) who calls 911 relays your identity to the dispatcher to warn police officers there is a good guy on scene with a gun as well. Try to be a detailed as possible about where you are standing so they know where to look for you.
- Comply immediately with all commands given by the police officers. While there is no mention of this happening in the situation above, when you are given the chance to drop your weapon, do so without hesitation. Follow officers’ directions to the letter until they can sort things out.
- Ask the dispatcher to let you know when officers are about to be on scene, so you can holster up. Many departments will set up around a corner and announce they are on scene, so the off-duty officer or armed civilian can put their weapon down. One option might be to holster up when you hear sirens close. But of course, do so as carefully as possible from a position of tactical advantage, should the suspect attempt to use it as an opportunity to continue the attack.
- Try to take cover if possible while holding your weapon on the suspect. Try to pick your positioning where you can observe the threat in front of you but will also have cover if the police fire. In other words, try not to be a fully exposed target when the police arrive, if possible.
What do you think about the statements made by the church leaders? Do you think what they said is correct? Leave us a comment below to let us know.