Crime News

70-year-old charged with hate crime after allegedly shooting a white mom with Black sons

John P. Shadbar, an Illinois resident, has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after reportedly shooting his neighbor, a 45-year-old white mother with black sons, many times in what authorities call a racially motivated attack.

Witnesses named Shadbar as the gunman and stated that he had “shot the victim outside and was walking around his property with a rifle,” according to the Will County Sheriff’s Office investigation. They claimed he shot the woman “from different outside locations,” firing dozens of shots at her.

The shooting, which was caught on video by security cameras in the vicinity, has led investigators to suspect it was racially motivated. Melissa Robertson, who was shot in the chest and hand and was critically injured, was taken to the hospital for surgery. Authorities, however, stated that she is healing.

Her family informed NBC Chicago that Shadbar had terrorized them since they moved in ten years ago. Shadbar allegedly hurled slurs like “dead n-words, n-word this, n-word lover,” according to one of Robertson’s sons, Mikeal Johnson.

“[He] called me the n-word straight to my face,” Johnson recounted. “My mom made him apologize. A few days later, he comes out holding a gun in his underwear.” 

According to the family, they reported the alleged bullying to the authorities multiple times over the years, but nothing was ever done. Johnson told ABC7, “We’ve called the cops. He’s thrown fireworks and he’s shot blanks. Nothing was done. And it’s very unfortunate.” 

Jeanne Beyer, Robertson’s aunt, told NBC that the gunman shouted the “dead n-word” and attempted to enter the family’s backyard during the most recent incident. According to the family, Robertson’s 8-year-old son saw the shooting.

The 70-year-old shooter then holed himself inside his home following the incident. According to the news release, he caved after a crisis mediator persuaded him to surrender with his hands raised. Meanwhile, deputies claimed that during his conversation with the crisis negotiator, Shadbar made “several incriminating statements.”

Following his arrest, he was charged with hate crime, aggravated battery with a firearm, attempted first-degree murder, and unauthorized use of a weapon by a felon at the Will County Adult Detention Facility. Additional charges are probably pending, according to the sheriff’s office.

Per the Chicago Suntimes, Shadbar is scheduled to return to court on May 23.

Dollita Okine

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