CHICAGO (CBS) — An Amtrak police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting a 25-year-old Minnesota man earlier this month near Union Station.
Chad Robertson died Wednesday, one week after being shot.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said the officer who shot Robertson, 31-year-old LaRoyce Tankson, turned himself in late Thursday, and has been charged with first-degree murder. A judge set his bail at $250,000 Friday afternoon; Tankson later bonded out.
Law enforcement sources have said Tankson was responding to a robbery at the time of the shooting, but Robertson’s family has disputed that.
On Feb. 8, Robertson and a friend were returning to Minneapolis from a wedding in Memphis, when their Megabus made a stopover in Chicago, and they went into Union Station to get warm.
“He was just trying to come home,” cried girlfriend, Arterria Lipsey. “He was just trying to come home.”
Prosecutors say Tankson and his partner saw Robertson smoking marijuana on the sidewalk. As officers patted down the father of two, he ran from Tankson.
In court, Tankson’s defense attorney Will Fahy told the judge Robertson was running away with his left hand in his pocket and turned toward his client.
“He reasonably believed he was about to be shot and he reasonably believed that man had a gun in his hand.”
Prosecutors disagree Robertson made any threatening gestures.
Robertson’s family has said they are considering a wrongful death lawsuit.
“We are confident today we will get justice. We are glad today he was charged,” Chad Robertson’s sister, Nina Robertson, told reporters Friday.
According to Amtrak Police Department’s 2015 annual report Tankson was hired as a police officer that year. He was placed on administrative duty after the shooting.
Amtrak has said little about the shooting. Friday afternoon, spokesman Marc Magliari issued the following statement: “Amtrak continues to cooperate fully with the Chicago Police Department and State’s Attorney’s office. As this matter is ongoing, we are unable to comment further.”
The Amtrak Police Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement Friday that was supportive of Tankson.
“He has displayed exemplary professionalism in the line of duty and has played an important role in securing the safety of the 3 million Amtrak passengers who pass through Union station every year,” the statement said.
“While we are confident that any judge or jury will find that Officer Tankson acted within the law and out of fear for his life, we disagree with the State’s Attorney’s decision to charge against Officer Tankson before a complete and through investigation was conducted.”