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Fatally Shot Security Guard Jemel Roberson Graduated From Lane Tech, Had A ‘Big Smile And A Bigger Heart’

Jemel Roberson graduated from Lane Tech in 2010 and was a gifted basketball player and musician, friends and family say.

Jemel Roberson, fifth from the left on the top row, was a graduate of Lane Tech High School and played on the school's basketball team.
Lane Tech Basketball/ GoFundMe
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NORTH CENTER — The security guard fatally shot by suburban police Sunday was a graduate of Lane Tech High School and a gifted basketball player and musician, friends and family say.

Jemel Roberson, 26, was working as an armed security guard at Manny’s Blue Room Bar in suburban Robbins over the weekend. At about 4 a.m. Sunday, a group of drunk men were asked to leave the bar. After being ejected, one of those men came back to the bar armed with a gun and opened fire, witnesses said.

Roberson was able to detain one of the men involved outside but was fatally shot by a police officer from Midlothian, a neighboring suburb, who arrived on the scene.

On Monday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said Roberson, of the 3300 block of West Lexington Street in Chicago, was pronounced dead at 5 a.m. Sunday at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge, 2911 S. Claire Blvd., in suburban Robbins.

The cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and the death was ruled a homicide.

After his death on Sunday, Katie Fromm-Bogacki, a friend of the Roberson family, created a GoFundMe campaign for Roberson’s family to help pay for burial expenses. As of Tuesday morning, the GoFundMe had raised $38,806 in one day. 

Fromm-Bogacki wrote that Roberson was greatly loved by all who knew him.  

“He was the light of his mother Beatrice’s life, and was a devoted loving son. Jemel was a gifted basketball player and musician, and his love for God and his family were at the forefront of his life,” she wrote. “Sadly, Jemel’s life was tragically and unexpectedly cut short this morning as he tried to save others from senseless violence.  Today, many remember him as a hero; one who put others before himself.”

Sarah Hanly, assistant principal at Lane Tech, told Block Club Roberson graduated from Lane back in 2010 and was on the school’s basketball team. In a tweet, Pastor LeAundre Hill said Roberson also played music for his congregation at Purposed Church, 1252 S. Wolcott Ave., for the last several years.

Lane Tech’s varsity basketball team confirmed that Roberson was a 2010 graduate of the school. 

“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the tragic passing of 2010 Lane Tech graduate and Lane Tech Basketball alum, Jemel Roberson,” said a tweet on the official account of Lane Tech’s varsity basketball team. “We pass along our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Jemel. Jemel had a big smile and a bigger heart. You will be missed.”

On Monday the family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit, according to the Sun-Times.