clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Santa visits family of security guard killed by cop in case of ‘friendly fire’

Tristan, son of Jemel Roberson and Avontea Boose, plays with the gifts his family was surprised with on Dec. 23, 2018. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

Santa — atop a tow truck instead of a sleigh — delivered toys Sunday to the family of Jemel Roberson — the security guard who was subduing a shooting suspect last month when a responding police officer accidentally shot him to death outside a tavern in the south suburbs.

Roberson’s son, Tristan, who will turn 1 in several weeks, immediately began playing with toys, which were donated by Early Walker, CEO of W&W Towing.

A stroller, along with boxes of diapers and wipes, were also given to Roberson’s girlfriend, Avontea Boose, 25, who is pregnant with Roberson’s baby, due in May.

“I’m still heartbroken because Jemel is not here with us,” she said Sunday, moments after she was surprised outside her mother’s Englewood home by a caravan of present-laden tow trucks blaring Christmas music.

“I’m just grateful,” Boose said. “I appreciate it.”

Video by Colin Boyle | Jemel Roberson's family is surprised by gifts from W&W Towing for Christmas.

Boose held Tristan as local television reporters placed microphones near his mouth for comment. He playfully batted them with his hand.

Roberson, 26, was working as an armed security guard at Manny’s Blue Room Lounge in Robbins Nov. 11 when a shooting occurred at the bar.

Tristan, son of Jemel Roberson and Avontea Boose, is held by Boose on Dec. 23, 2018. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times
Tristan, son of Jemel Roberson and Avontea Boose, is held by Boose on Dec. 23, 2018. | Colin Boyle/Sun-Times

He was in the process of apprehending a suspect in the shooting when an officer from the Midlothian Police Department, which assisted at the scene, fatally shot him.

“He was a hero,” Boose said.

The Midlothian police chief deemed the shooting a tragic incident of “blue-on-blue friendly fire.”

Roberson was a beloved church organist who hoped to one day become a police officer.

His family has filed a federal lawsuit claiming excessive force in the shooting, which is being investigated by the Illinois State Police.