MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis family pleading for justice after one tragedy is now suddenly burdened with another.
An impromptu vigil was organized in St. Paul for Candice Hackett Wednesday night. She died earlier in the day after being shot early Sunday morning in north Minneapolis.
The original purpose of the gathering was to protest the shooting death of her son Chad Robertson, who was shot at a Chicago Amtrak Station in February. The Amtrak officer who shot him, LaRoyce Tankson, faces a murder charge.
The message was loud outside Union Depot was loud and the motivation was clear. A protester holding the microphone yelled, “Say his name!” The crowd responded, “Chad!”
Justice for Chad Robertson is what brought the group together, but someone important was missing.
“This was an event that she was looking forward to,” said organizer Mel Reeves. He was referring to Chad’s mother Candice Hackett. Last February, she stood next to family members as they demanded justice for the killing of her son. Weeks later she would also lose her life to gunfire.
“It’s the same situation that they’re reliving,” said activist Monique Cullars-Doty. “Same nightmare of being in the hospital with Chad and then losing him and then being in the hospital with their mother and losing her.”
Paying their respects was part of the event Wednesday, but the group didn’t lose sight on their main goal.
“Chad Robertson should be here. He should be here to support his family in the loss of his mother,” she said.
Protestors want Amtrak to apologize for Chad’s death, fire the Amtrak officer’s supervisor, and make systematic changes to prevent future deadly situations.
“We want Amtrak to realize that this didn’t have to happen,” said Cullars-Doty. It’s something they believe his mother would have wanted.
“Miss Candice was fighting for her son and now we’re taking up the mantel so to speak and carrying on the fight,” said Reeves.
“It lets the other Amtrak supervisors know and understand that you need to have officers in place that are going to respect people’s basic human rights,” added Cullars-Doty.
A similar protest was held at Union Station in Chicago.
WCCO reached out to Amtrak for a comment on the matter but was told all questions should be directed to the attorney’s involved.
As for the case involving his Candice, 31-year-old Kelvin McInnis and 21-year-old Andrew Tyus were arrested on gun charges.
Police are still asking for people who witnessed the shooting to come forward and help with the investigation. They can send a text to 847411.