The incident happened early Sunday after a group of drunk men, who had been asked to leave a bar, returned and started shooting at the site. Roberson returned fire and apprehended one of the involved men, only to be shot dead afterwards by a responding police officer.
“Everybody was screaming out, ‘Security!’ He was a security guard,” said witness Adam Harri. “And they still did their job, and saw a black man with a gun, and basically killed him.”
The local police department, however, cautiously acknowledged the incident, describing the 26-year-old security guard as “a subject with a gun.”
“A Midlothian officer encountered a subject with a gun and was involved in an officer-involved shooting. The subject the officer shot was later pronounced deceased at an area hospital,” Midlothian Police Department Chief Daniel Delaney said in a statement.
Video later emerged on social media showing the young guard’s body surrounded by police officers, receiving CPR treatment.
Friends interviewed by local media expressed their frustration with the killing, recounting how Roberson was a Church musician who was seeking to train to become a police officer.
“He was getting ready to train and do all that stuff, so the very people he wanted to be family with, took his life,” said Rev. Patricia Hill.
“Once again, it’s the continued narrative that we see of shoot first, ask questions later,” exclaimed Rev. LeAundre Hill, making reference to police brutality targeting Black communities.
Police killings of mostly unarmed black men elsewhere in the United States helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement and became a prominent issue in the 2016 US presidential campaign.
Numerous demonstrations have been held across the country in recent years following white police officers killing unarmed African-American men. The killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio; Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York and Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina are some cases of police brutality victims which have gained nation-wide attention.