Alleged Hate Crime in Lockport Township Exposes Persistent Inequalities and Justice Gaps

Alleged Hate Crime in Lockport Township Exposes Persistent Inequalities and Justice Gaps

The incident reported in Lockport Township, Illinois, where a woman was allegedly shot by her neighbor, highlights several critical aspects related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, and Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

The victim, Melissa Robertson, and her family have endured years of harassment from the accused, John P. Shadbar, allegedly culminating in this violent act. According to reports, Shadbar subjected the family to racial slurs and intimidation, targeting them because of their race. The victim's son recounted instances where Shadbar used racial epithets and brandished firearms, creating a hostile environment for the family.

This tragic incident underscores the persistence of racial inequalities and the urgent need to address systemic discrimination. Goal 10 aims to reduce inequalities by advocating for universal policies that consider the needs of marginalized populations. However, the failure to effectively address the reported harassment despite previous complaints reflects a gap in achieving this goal.

Furthermore, the shooting incident raises concerns regarding access to justice and the functioning of institutions. Despite the family's repeated attempts to seek intervention from authorities, the harassment allegedly persisted without resolution. Goal 16 emphasizes the importance of building effective, accountable institutions and ensuring access to justice for all. The fact that the victim's family felt unheard and unprotected suggests a failure in meeting these objectives.

In conclusion, the alleged hate crime in Lockport Township underscores the ongoing challenges in addressing racial inequalities and ensuring justice and security for all individuals, as outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Efforts to combat discrimination and strengthen institutional frameworks are imperative to creating a more equitable and peaceful society.

Illinois man who allegedly shot neighbor, a white woman with

Black sons, charged with hate crime

John Shadbar was also charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

An Illinois man was arrested and charged with a hate crime after he allegedly shot his neighbor several times in what authorities say is a racially motivated incident.

Around 5:37 p.m. Tuesday deputies were called to an area in Lockport Township for reports of shots fired. The responding deputies were told that the victim, a 45-year-old woman, had been shot by her neighbor, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release on Facebook.

Witnesses identified the shooter as John P. Shadbar and said he had "shot the victim outside and was walking around his property with a rifle," according to authorities. They said he allegedly fired dozens of rounds at the woman "from different outside locations."

The shooting was captured on video from security cameras in the area. The sheriff's office said they believe it was racially motivated.

John P. Shadbar in court.
John P. Shadbar is facing nine felony charges, including attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery, felony possession of a firearm and a hate crime after he allegedly shot his neighbor.WMAQ

Deputies provided life-saving measures to the woman and she was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Authorities said she had been shot in the chest and hand and underwent surgery. She is currently recovering, the sheriff's office said.

The victim was identified by family members as Melissa Robertson. The family told NBC Chicago that they have been harassed by Shadbar since they moved in 10 years ago. Robertson is white and her sons are Black.

Mikeal Johnson, one of Robertson's sons, told the news station that during one incident Shadbar allegedly yelled slurs like "dead n-words, n-word this, n-word lover."

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

Other times, Shadbar would allegedly fire his gun in his yard and toss fireworks between the homes, the family said.

During Tuesday's incident, he was yelling "dead n-word" and was trying to get into the family’s backyard, Robertson’s aunt, Jeanne Beyer, told NBC Chicago. Robertson’s 8-year-old son witnessed the shooting, the family said.

Authorities said Shadbar, 70, barricaded himself inside his residence after the shooting. After speaking with him on the phone, a crisis negotiator convinced him to exit with his hands up, according to the news release.

Deputies said Shadbar made "several incriminating statements" while speaking to the crisis negotiator.

He was transported to the Will County Adult Detention Facility and charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery with a firearm, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and a hate crime. The sheriff's office said additional charges are likely.

The family said that they contacted authorities several times over the years about the alleged harassment, but nothing was ever done about it. NBC News reached out to the Will County Sheriff’s Office.

"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," Johnson told NBC Chicago.

Shadbar appeared in court on Thursday and was denied pretrial release.