Illinois Man Charged with Hate Crime, Attempted Murder in Shooting of Mother of 2 Whose Sons Are Black

An Illinois man has been charged with attempted murder and a hate crime, among other offenses, for allegedly shooting his female neighbor who has two Black sons

Published Time: 11.05.2024 - 20:31:10 Modified Time: 11.05.2024 - 20:31:10

An Illinois man has been charged with attempted murder and a hate crime, among other offenses, for allegedly shooting his female neighbor who has two Black sons.

The Will County Sheriff's Office said in a social media post that officers responded to a report of “shots fired” in a neighborhood in the Unincorporated Lockport Township area on Tuesday, May 7, at approximately 5:30 p.m. local time.

Witnesses reported told officers that the suspect, John P. Shadbar, 70, had “fired dozens of rounds of ammunition” with an “assault-style rifle” at the 45-year-old woman, who had been walking outside his property at the time.

Deputies arrived and provided “life-saving measures” to the woman, and she was then transported to the hospital in “critical condition” after suffering gunshot wounds to her chest and hand, according to authorities.

Police said that she had “undergone surgery for her injuries and is recovering.”

Police also said that Shadbar had “barricaded” himself inside his home after the shooting.

A crisis negotiator was sent in and “convinced” him to surrender to police, and he was taken into custody “without incident," per authorities.

Police seized “two AK-47 style rifles” — one of which they believed was used in the shooting — along with "a shotgun and two handguns” from his home, they added.

Detectives also said they obtained video evidence of the shooting from neighbors' surveillance cameras and stated that the incident appeared "to be racially motivated.” 

In a Facebook post on Friday, May 10, police said that Shadbar was charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery, hate crime, criminal damage to property, aggravated discharge of a firearm and three counts of aggravated unlawful use -

of a weapon.

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The woman’s family identified her to NBC Chicago as Melissa Robertson. They told the outlet that Robertson, who is White, has two sons that are Black, and that Shadbar had harassed the family and spewed racial slurs at them since they moved into the area about 10 years ago.

“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,” Robertson’s son Mikeal Johnson told the news outlet.

A GoFundMe has been started for the family to help pay for Robertson's medical bills. The fundraising page noted that Robertson "shattered several ribs" due to the shooting and would need "reconstructive hand surgery" as a result of her injury.

In their update post, the Will County Sheriff's Office said that Robertson had made two complaint calls about Shadbar to police in March 2024. “The first call was about Shadbar acting very agitated and yelling at the victim and her children. Deputies responded and resolved the issue,” police said.

They said that a second call was about Shadbar “shooting fireworks and possibly a gun over the victim’s backyard fence.” The woman had told police at the time that she had “ongoing issues with Shadbar,” but “due to lack of evidence, no arrest was made at that time.”

Shadbar is currently being held at the Adult Detention Facility without bond, the Will County Sheriff's Office said. It is not immediately clear if he has legal representation to comment on his behalf.

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