‘Jus­tice will be served, but in God’s time’

Mother of slain se­cu­rity guard says son died ‘do­ing what he loved,’ but loss ‘hurts like crazy’

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - LINE OF DUTY - By Mike Nolan [email protected]­town­star.com Twit­ter @mnolan_j

Fam­ily of slain se­cu­rity guard Jemel Rober­son said dur­ing his funeral ser­vice Satur­day they are “hurt­ing to the core” and promised that “we will see jus­tice is served.”

Mourn­ers who gath­ered at House of Hope Wor­ship Cen­ter on Chicago’s South Side nearly two weeks fol­low­ing the 26year-old’s shoot­ing death heard how Rober­son was a “tal­ented young man” who played mu­sic at sev­eral area churches.

Rober­son’s mother, Beatrice Rober­son, said her son “died do­ing what he loved” and that the loss “hurts like crazy.”

“He was a good per­son, he had a good heart,” she said.

Rober­son, of Chicago, had been work­ing se­cu­rity at Manny’s Blue Room in Rob­bins in the early morn­ing hours of Nov. 11 when a fight broke out be­tween two groups of men and shots were fired.

Po­lice from mul­ti­ple lo­cal de­part­ments re­sponded to the shoot­ing, in­clud­ing a white of­fi­cer from neigh­bor­ing Mid­loth­ian, who shot Rober­son, who was black, as he held one of the sus­pected bar shoot­ers at gun­point.

Ac­cord­ing to a pre­lim­i­nary Illi­nois State Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the shoot­ing that cited “wit­ness state­ments,” the of­fi­cer gave “mul­ti­ple ver­bal com­mands” to Rober­son to drop his gun and get on the ground be­fore shoot­ing him. The pre­lim­i­nary re­port also said Rober­son was wear­ing “plain black cloth­ing with no mark­ings read­ily iden­ti­fy­ing him as a Se­cu­rity Guard.”

Wit­nesses, how­ever, have con­tra­dicted that ac­count, say­ing that the of­fi­cer opened fire on Rober­son be­fore giv­ing him an ad­e­quate op­por­tu­nity to re­spond to his ver­bal com­mands. They also re­ported that Rober­son was wear­ing cloth­ing clearly marked with the word “Se­cu­rity.”

Fam­ily mem­bers have said that Rober­son had as­pi­ra­tions of be­com­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer.

Rober­son’s aunt, Louise Rober­son, said a “racist white” po­lice of­fi­cer took her nephew’s life, and that “jus­tice will be done.”

“The fight has just be­gun,” she told sev­eral hun­dred mourn­ers.

“He was a peo­ple per­son,” Rober­son’s sis­ter, Lear­ah­teen Bridges, said. “He loved every­body.”

Bridges said the shoot­ing was un­jus­ti­fied, and that Rober­son’s fam­ily is an­gry but “not hat­ing.”

“We’re hurt­ing to the core,” she said. “We will see jus­tice is served.”

Rober­son’s mother said she didn’t like the job her son had work­ing as a se­cu­rity guard, but said he loved to help peo­ple.

As far as the un­named of­fi­cer who fa­tally shot her son, Beatrice Robe­son said “I don’t hate him, I pray for him.”

The of­fi­cer is on paid ad­min­is­tra­tive leave pend­ing the out­come of the state po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ac­knowl­edg­ing the anger that the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing her son’s death has caused, she told those in the church that “if you want to honor my son’s life, you show love.”

“Jus­tice will be served, but in God’s time,” she said.

A fed­eral judge has de­nied a re­quest by the fam­ily to iden­tify the Mid­loth­ian of­fi­cer in­volved in the shoot­ing, and an at­tor­ney for Rober­son’s fam­ily has is­sued a sub­poena to the state po­lice re­quest­ing that by Fri­day they turn over all pre­lim­i­nary re­ports re­gard­ing the de­part­ment’s find­ings about the shoot­ing.

That in­cludes all po­lice re­ports, wit­ness state­ments and other in­ves­tiga­tive doc­u­ments per­tain­ing to the shoot­ing, the name of the Mid­loth­ian of­fi­cer who shot Rober­son and any footage from the in­ci­dent.

Cook County Sher­iff’s Po­lice are also seek­ing the pub­lic’s help in iden­ti­fy­ing pos­si­ble wit­nesses to the shoot­ing, which took place in the park­ing lot of Manny’s.

The Rev. Michael Reynolds, pas­tor of new Life Cel­e­bra­tion Church of God, which Beatrice Robe­son at­tends, was crit­i­cal of the po­lice re­sponse.

He said Jemel Rober­son “be­lieved in be­ing a good guy” and was “wear­ing one of the good guy hats,” re­fer­ring to a cap he was al­legedly wear­ing at the time iden­ti­fy­ing him as “Se­cu­rity.” Reynolds said that Rober­son’s life was “snuffed out by the so-called good guys.”

The pas­tor said that se­cu­rity work was in Rober­son and that he was a hero for sub­du­ing one of the sus­pected bar shoot­ers.

Reynolds said Rober­son would have fol­lowed a com­mand from the po­lice to drop his own gun, and would not “op­pose or rebel” against “the peo­ple he ad­mired.”

ERIN HOO­LEY/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE PHO­TOS

The cas­ket of 26-year-old Jemel Rober­son is car­ried out of the church af­ter his funeral Satur­day at House of Hope Wor­ship Cen­ter in Chicago.

A wo­man holds a pic­ture show­ing Rober­son af­ter his funeral.

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