After Years of Allegedly Being Harassed by a Racist Neighbor, A White Mom of 2 Black Boys Was Shot

Screenshot: Will County Sheriff’s Office (Facebook)
Screenshot: Will County Sheriff’s Office (Facebook)

A white Illinois man is criminally charged in connection to the shooting of his white neighbor in what the police call a racially motivated incident. Police say it was racially motivated, which we will explain.

Melissa Robertson, 45, is fighting for her life in the hospital after allegedly being shot several times by 70-year-old John Shadbar in their Lockport Township neighborhood. Will County Sheriff’s Office authorities said Tuesday evening they responded to a report of shots fired on Rickerman Road.

The witnesses on the scene told police Shadbar fired dozens of rounds of ammunition at Robertson after emerging onto his yard with his assault style rifle. Robertson was transported to the hospital in critical condition. She suffered a gunshot wound to her chest which exited her back and a gunshot wound to her hand, police said. She’s currently recovering from surgery.

“This did not need to happen at all. Not just our lives, but his life and his wife’s and our neighbors are all affected by it,” Mikeal Johnson, Robertson’s son who is Black, told local NBC News.

It took a crisis negotiator to get Shadbar to surrender after barricading himself inside of his home, police said. Robertson’s family said this was the grand finale of nearly a decade of being racially harassed by Shadbar because her two sons are Black.

Read more from NBC Chicago:

Robertson’s family said that they have been subject to harassment and racial slurs from Shadbar since around the time they moved to the area 10 years ago. Both of Robertson’s sons are Black.

Robertson’s family said her 8-year-old son witnessed the shooting. “He was yelling dead N (word) – he was trying to get into the backyard,” Robertson’s aunt, Jeanne Beyer, said.

Family told NBC Chicago that Shadbar would often fire his gun in his yard and had also thrown fireworks across the fence between the two homes.

“Dead n-words, n-word this, n-word lover. Called me the n-word straight to my face. My mom made him apologize, a few days later he comes out holding a gun in his underwear,” Johnson said.

Robertson’s family said she felt threatened and called police numerous times, adding that while reports were taken, though nothing was done.

Shadbar was charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon as well as a hate crime. He was denied pretrial release by a county judge.

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