Faith leaders hold vigil for slain Robbins security guard as investigation continues

ROBBINS, Ill. — Church leaders prayed for justice at a vigil in the south suburbs Sunday, a week after a white Midlothian police officer shot and killed a black security guard  outside a Robbins bar.

“Lord, we want to send a message: we will not continue to stay silent while our brothers, our sons, our loved ones are being slaughtered," said Rev. Eartis Younger, Pilgim Valley Missionary Baptist Church.

Sunday's vigil was the latest public demonstration of grief and anger following the killing of 26-year-old Jemel Roberson, who was working as a security guard at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge when he stopped a gunman who had shot several people at the bar. But when police arrived, a Midlothian officer shot and killed Roberson.

“A man who was doing his job – what he should be doing – someone else came in unaware, without the right and proper direction,” said Pastor James Cowthran, Jr., Missionary Baptist Church.

Investigators say the Midlothian officer couldn’t tell that Roberson was a security guard, but witnesses say he was wearing clothing that identified him as security.

“How many children do we have to lose because someone goes overboard?” asked Pastor Calvin Watkins, St. John Community Church, who organized the vigil. “We feel your hurt and we’re standing with you, and we’re going to stay in this case until justice is done.”

As the Illinois State Police continue to investigate, some faith leaders are calling on authorities to reveal the identity of the officer involved in the shooting.