Horrifying details released after Will County man yelled racial slurs, shot neighbor in alleged hate crime

New details were revealed Thursday after a Will County man allegedly shot his neighbor after yelling racial slurs.

John P. Shadbar has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery, aggravated discharge of a firearm, possession of a firearm without requisite firearm owner's identification card, three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and a hate crime.

"I feel like they're forced to take it serious now, but if anything like this wouldn't have happened, I feel like it would still be brushed under the rug," said Mikeal Johnson, the victim’s stepson.

He said his stepmom, Melissa Robertson, remains hospitalized in critical but stable condition. He added that he and his little brother have lived next to Shadbar for years and they’ve endured racial slurs and racial hate the entire time. He said Shadbar even threw explosives over the fence, and that the police were called but Shadbar was not arrested.

"I don't want anyone else of color, people of color feeling like this, like they don't deserve to be where they are just because they're Black and they're in the wrong neighborhood," said Johnson.

At about 5:37 p.m. on Wednesday, officers responded to the 16500 block of West 144th Place for a 911 call, indicating that a woman had been shot in the stomach by a neighbor.

Upon arrival, a witness at the scene, Emily Tasharski, met with officers and identified herself as the 911 caller. She directed officers to the kitchen area, where they located the victim, 45-year-old Melissa Robertson, lying on the floor with an open bleeding gunshot wound, prosecutors said.

Officers determined that Robertson had been shot outside her house in the backyard and crawled back into the house after being shot.

It was later determined that Robertson was shot in the hand and her hand had significant damage. The round also penetrated her body and caused great bodily harm, permanent disability and permanent disfigurement, with damage to her colon spleen and ribs, prosecutors said. 

Although she was conscious when located by officers, she was unable to speak and was groaning in pain.  

Officers at the scene provided medical aid to Robertson until she was taken to Silver Cross Hospital for emergency medical care. She was listed in critical condition and had to undergo surgery.

Tasharski and another witness who were at the scene indicated to police that Robertson's next-door neighbor, 70-year-old Shadbar, was allegedly the person who fired multiple shots from a rifle, with one round striking Robertson.

Shadbar then allegedly went back to his residence after the shooting.

Tasharski told officers that she had been staying with Robertson at Robertson's residence.

About a month ago, Tasharski told police she heard Shadbar allegedly yell, "n----- lover" and threw an M-80 type firework over the fence into Robertson's yard. A report was filed with the Will County Sheriff's Department.

Shortly after that incident, Shadbar allegedly pointed a gun at Tasharski and Robertson while yelling "n----- lover" and "whore" at her.

Tasharski also told police that Shadbar would shoot his gun down his driveway, saying he was shooting coyotes in the woods. Though Tasharski thought he often shot blanks, prosecutors said.

On the day of the shooting, Tasharski and Robertson were in the backyard with Tasharski's three-year-old son and Robertson's son. Roberton has two sons: one in his 20s and another seven years old. Both are African American. The older son was not home at the time of the shooting. 

Robertson's son and Tasharski's son were jumping on the trampoline, when, out of nowhere, Shadbar allegedly began revving his motorcycle engine, which he had done in the past, prosecutors said.

Robertson had bought an air horn and allegedly blew it in Shadbar's direction.

That's when Shadbar allegedly said, "There's gonna be dead n------ today." 

At that time, Tasharski brought the children inside. Though she had heard Shadbar allegedly use that type of language before, she said this time seemed different, prosecutors said. 

Shadbar then allegedly threw an Ice Mountain bottle over the fence into Robertson's yard.

Once the children were inside, Tasharski walked toward Robertson and heard gunshots allegedly coming from Shadbar. She said they sounded different from the usual blank rounds.

The shots then got louder and closer as Robertson was recording Shadbar with her phone.

Robertson allegedly walked toward Shadbar, thinking he was shooting blanks. Tasharski then heard gunshots and saw Robertson fall to the ground. Tasharski opened the door and Robertson crawled on all fours into the house and began moaning.

That's when Tasharski called 911. She saw Shadbar walk by the front window with an AK-47 rifle-type gun. The second witness told police that while he was inside Robertson's house, he also allegedly saw Shadbar carrying an AK rifle.

Shadbar allegedly walked around the front of Robertson's residence and was shooting off rounds while walking to the backyard gate. He allegedly shot numerous rounds into the backyard and tried to enter through the gate, prosecutors said.

As Shadbar was at the gate trying to enter, the second witness heard Shadbar allegedly yell "n----- lover." Shadbar then allegedly went back to the front of the house and then back to his house.

Robertson, Tasharski, their two sons and the second witness were all at Robertson's home at the time of this occurrence. 

John Shadbar (Will County Sheriff)

The second witness said there was a previous call to the police involving Shadbar, where Shadbar was pointing his rifle at Tasharski and shooting the rifle with blanks and yelling racial slurs.

Officers were able to talk to Robertson before she went into surgery and she indicated that Shadbar was allegedly revving his motorcycle and yelling at her.

She also indicated that Shadbar had previously thrown explosives over her fence, and that she had problems with him, prosecutors said.

She said that Shadbar walked around the fence between her yard and with his gun, prosecutors said. She said he then allegedly pointed the gun at her and shot her.

Officers also spoke to a neighbor who lives on the same block and said he lived there for eight years and knows that Robertson and Shabar have been known to be hostile to each other.

The neighbor said he heard five to six pops as he was in his house, looked out his window and allegedly saw Shadbar walking around with a rifle on Robertson's property. 

He said he allegedly saw Shadbar shoot multiple times into the residence and then Robertson's backyard. 

The neighbor said he did not see anyone get shot. He then started recording on his phone.

He indicated that Shadbar was walking near the backyard of Robertson's residence with a rifle in his hand walked to the front of the residence and broke out a window on the house, prosecutors said.

The video from the neighbor was provided to the police, which showed Shadbar allegedly holding a rifle and holding his arm toward Robertson's backyard fence and stumbling.

Shadbar then allegedly swung the rifle toward Robertson's residence and a breaking sound was heard, which was the window that broke.

Shadbar allegedly had the rifle in his hand and moved a drain pipe and then went out of view of the camera, prosecutors said.

Two other neighbors indicated that Robertson and Shadbar do not like each other, and one of them was able to capture video of Shadbar allegedly leaning over a partition and looking into Robertson's yard. Robertson then told Shadbar to "get off my –" and that's when Shadbar allegedly fired five shots from the rifle in the direction of Robertson.

Shadbar's wife, Wendy, told police she has been married to him since 2009. Shadbar is retired, while she has been employed with the Cook County Department of Corrections for 18 years.

That day, she said she took the cat to the vet and everything was fine when she got home. She said she had lunch and she and Shadbar took a nap. When he woke up, Wendy said he was agitated and crabby. He then allegedly told her that he wanted to drink alcohol, so she went and got him vodka to calm him down.

At that time, Shadbar allegedly went to the garage and she heard him revving his motorcycle and then heard shots, prosecutors said.

He then allegedly came back into the house, screaming and yelling, "f--- this" and "f--- that" and started to rip the cabinets down in the kitchen and throw stuff.

At that time, Wendy allegedly went into the living room, while Shadbar went into the bedroom. She said she was scared and waiting for sirens, prosecutors said.

She then looked outside and saw police and heard them talking on the loudspeaker. At that time, she grabbed her purse and went to the police.

After officers spoke with Shadbar, he eventually left his residence and surrendered.

Wendy allegedly told police she had two firearms, a Glock and a revolver, and they were locked in a safe in the house. She also said she didn't know Shadbar had a long gun or where he got it from. Wendy allegedly refused consent to search her house, so a search warrant was obtained. 

A search of their house revealed a 762 caliber assault rifle, an AK-47 style rifle under the bedroom mattress. 

Panels were also allegedly discovered in the garage which were removable, prosecutors said. Behind those panels were numerous boxes of ammunition, a shotgun and two rifles.

Officers also allegedly recovered the rifle, which is believed to be the weapon used in this case, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a revolver.

Wendy indicated that her service weapon was a Glock, but no Glock was recovered within the home or any of the vehicles searched.

Prosecutors said that Shadbar did not have a Carry Conceal License (CCL) or a Firearm Owner's Identification Card (FOID card) and was not eligible because it appears he is a convicted felon. 

The Will County Sheriff's Office said Shadbar was arrested for a felony in 1979. His FOID card was revoked at that time. Deputies searched his home after the incident and found five weapons inside a wall. They seized two AK-47 style rifles, a shotgun, and two handguns. One of the AK-47 rifles is believed to be the weapon used in the shooting.

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Will County Sheriff's deputies search John Shadbar's home