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Illinois security guard saved bar patrons' lives; then police showed up and shot him to death

Security guard Jemele Roberson was shot to death by Midlothian, Illinois police after an altercation at a bar early Sunday morning. (Image source: WGN screen capture)

Tragedy struck the south Chicago suburbs this weekend when Midlothian, Illinois, police shot and killed a security guard who had subdued a would-be murderer outside a bar.

What happened?

According to WGN-TV, the incident occurred outside Manny's Blue Room Bar in Midlothian around 4 a.m. on Sunday. Bar security had asked a group of unruly drunken patrons to leave. One of the men who was asked to leave reportedly immediately returned to the bar with a gun and opened fire on bar patrons.

Bar security guard Jemel Roberson subdued the alleged shooter, whose name has not yet been released. According to witness statements provided to WGN, Roberson had the shooter detained face down on the ground with his knee in the shooter's back and a firearm pointed at the shooter, telling him, "Don't move!"

When police arrived at the scene, however, they opened fire on Roberson.

According to witness Adam Harris, who described the confrontation to WGN, "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."

According to WLS-TV, four other people suffered non-fatal gunshot wounds in the encounter, although it was not immediately clear whether these gunshot wounds were caused by the shooter or by the police response.

Midlothian police issued the following statement to WLS regarding the shooting: "Upon arrival officers learned there were several gunshot victims inside the bar. 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."

No further details about the shooting have yet been released. According to Illinois law, the incident will now be investigated by the Illinois State Police because it includes an officer-involved shooting.

A spokesman for the Cook County Sheriff's Office told WGN that Roberson did have a valid Firearm Owners Identification card, but did not have a concealed carry license.

What do we know about the security guard?

According to statements provided to both WGN and WLS, Roberson was a musician who frequently played drums, organs, and other instruments for worship services for several area churches. Roberson's friends also told WGN that he aspired to become a police officer someday.

Reverend Patricia Hill, who knew Roberson from one of these churches, told WGN, "Every artist he’s ever played for every musician he’s ever sat beside, we’re all just broken because we have no answers. ... He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life."

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