Lockport Township man accused of shooting neighbor charged with hate crime, ordered held in custody

Friday, May 10, 2024
Lockport Township man accused of shooting neighbor charged with hate crime
John Shadbar of Lockport Township was in court on charges including attempted murder and hate crime for allegedly shooting neighbor Melissa Robertson.

LOCKPORT TOWNSHIP, Ill. (WLS) -- A Lockport Township man accused of shooting his neighbor appeared in court on multiple charges, including attempted murder and hate crime.

John Shadbar is facing nine felony charges. IN court, prosecutors said there is cell phone video from witnesses showing him shooting his neighbor. A judge ordered him held in custody pending trial.

"She's literally still fighting for her life," Jeanne Beyer, the victim's aunt, said. "She's nowhere near out of the woods."

Beyer said her niece, 45-year-old Melissa Robertson, is still in critical, but stable condition Thursday morning after authorities say Robertson was shot multiple times Tuesday evening by her Lockport neighbor, 70-year-old Shadbar.

"We are happy that he is going to be put away until trial," Beyer said. "And it sounds like there is quite enough evidence that he will be convicted."

Prosecutors described what had been a years-long history of animosity between the neighbors, with Shadbar frequently using racial slurs toward Robertson's two children, who are Black. That includes on May 7, the day of the shooting.

"We've called the cops. He's thrown fireworks and he's shot blanks. Nothing was done. And it's very unfortunate," said Mikeal Johnson, Robertsons' stepson.

Beyer said one of Robertson's children, an eight-year-old boy, was home at the time of the shooting.

"We were all very shocked when this happened, but honestly sadly we are not surprised," Beyer said. "This has been nine years and coming."

After the shooting, prosecutors said the 45-year-old managed to drag herself from her yard into her kitchen. A friend who had been staying with her called 911.

After Shadbar's arrest, prosecutors said multiple unlicensed weapons were recovered inside his home, and added that Shadbar had previously been denied a FOID card because of a felony conviction for battery that dates back to the 1970s.

Robertson's family's frustration was evident outside court Thursday.

"Nothing was ever done. And I don't care if he was shooting blanks. If he's in his front yard waving a gun and doesn't have a FOID card. I mean, I have a FOID card. I can't go stand in my front yard and wave my gun around without some consequences," Beyer said.

"I was on my way home from work. My little brother was home. And I just wish I could have been there. I mean not much I could have done, but I wish I could have been there for my family when they needed me the most," said Johnson.

Beyer said Shadbar terrorized her niece's neighborhood.

"Random during the day or night, he would come out and shoot his gun off into the air, into the woods across the street," Beyer said. "Yell racist slurs. God-forbid the eight-year-old is out in the backyard or front yard playing."

Shadbar is due back in court on May 23. He can appeal his detention at that hearing.