Homicide Hits Home

Damarcus Roberts shot and killed in Flossmoor


Lucy Sloan, Copy editor

Unsolved murders aren’t expected to happen in Flossmoor.

Senior Lauryn Johnson moved here at the start of her high school career for that reason, and yet her life has still been affected by gun violence.

“I moved from where I was living, a bad neighborhood, just to get to this high school,” Johnson said. “And then when I get here, there’s gun violence here.”

Late at night on Aug. 23, Damarcus Roberts was shot in Flossmoor. He died the next morning at Christ Medical Center. His killer has not yet been apprehended.

Roberts was the father of two-year-old Londyn Roberts, Johnson’s daughter.

“She doesn’t know where he is, but she asks where he is,” Johnson said. Johnson faces life as a single parent, working two jobs to provide for her daughter as a senior in high school.

“I’m already a statistic. He’s a statistic. He is a young black man that got murdered,” Johnson said.

The statistics of gun violence may not be high in the Homewood and Flossmoor area, but Johnson fears gun violence is spreading to our community.

“I think it is increasing. It’s getting closer and closer to home every day,” Johnson said.

However, Flossmoor Deputy Chief of Police Tod Kamleiter said Flossmoor isn’t at risk of increasing gun violence.

“We pride ourselves on living in a community that has a low crime rate,” Kamleiter said.

The low crime rate is one part of Flossmoor that draws residents such as Johnson from other areas to live here.

“It’s very unusual for us to see this kind of thing,” said Kamleiter. “I’m an optimist, so I believe the incident was isolated.” Gun violence may not be common in Flossmoor, but an incident such as this can impact residents’ perceptions of safety.

“I’m fearful for being racially profiled. I am more cautious to even walk alone or with friends in my own town,” sophomore Israel Frankiewicz said.

The shooting has impacted students’ opinions on gun control laws as well. Frankiewicz says that easy access to guns encourages a shoot first, discuss later way of problem solving.

This mentality was evident in another case of gun violence in Flossmoor. Angelo’s Fresh Market employee Bryan Oedzes faces two felony charges after allegedly shooting at an unarmed man on Aug. 22.

“With the ease of getting access to firearms and the ability to walk freely with them holstered to one’s side, the quick-acting tendency to shoot will permeate a wild west paradigm,” Frankiewicz said.

Access to guns isn’t only relevant in light or the recent murder, either. According to a poll of 300 H-F seniors, 69 percent of students said gun policy is an important topic in the upcoming presidential election.

Although Roberts’ killer hasn’t been found, the search continues.

“As of today, our detectives are still working on leads that arise,” Kamleiter said.

The killer may not have been found, but the violence is supposedly over.

“I don’t know what happened to him,” Johnson said. “Nobody really knows.”

Despite the tragic mystery, Flossmoor will still be the peaceful little suburb that it has been.

“I don’t believe it changes their [residents’] overall perception of the community,” Kamleiter said.

Even though the community may remain unchanged, those who have been immediately affected by the violence know the truth.

“Until it hits home, I don’t think anyone will ever understand,” Johnson said.