Homicide

Amtrak officer faces murder charge in fatal Chicago shooting

Mugshot for Amtrak police officer LaRoyce Tankson.

Mugshot for Amtrak police officer LaRoyce Tankson.  (Chicago Police Department via AP)

An Amtrak police officer has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a Minneapolis man outside Chicago's Union Station, prosecutors said Friday.

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LaRoyce Tankson is charged in the Feb. 8 shooting of 25-year-old Chad Robertson, who died Wednesday, the Cook County State's Attorney's office said. Tankson, 31, surrendered to police Thursday.

Robertson was taking a bus from Memphis, Tennessee, to Minneapolis and was on a stopover in Chicago when the shooting occurred. Robertson and two friends went to Union Station to stay warm while they waited for their onward bus, but two officers aggressively confronted them so the three friends got up to leave, Robertson's sister, Nina Robertson, has said.

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The officers then confronted them again outside the station and accused one of them of smoking marijuana. An officer searched the men and when he put his hands in Robertson's pockets, he ran, the sister said. That's when one of the officers opened fire.

Chicago police say they found cash and narcotics on Robertson, but no weapon.

"I'm very pleased that he's been charged with first-degree murder," Robertson's aunt, Theresa Love Williams, said Friday. "Now that he's been charged, we need to get a conviction. So we still have a fight ahead of us."

The Associated Press left messages seeking comment Friday from attorney Dennis Hopson, who is representing Robertson's family. He previously said the family is considering a wrongful death lawsuit.

Amtrak officials said Friday that they are cooperating with Chicago police and prosecutors but that they can't comment further. Amtrak has put the officers involved on administrative assignment.

Civil rights activist Mel Reeves said the charges filed against the officer indicate "something went wrong severely that night. That clearly (the officer) had no reason to shoot Chad Robertson."

Tankson did not immediately respond to phone messages left Friday seeking comment.