Exclusive: Lockport woman shot by neighbor in racially motivated attack speaks out for 1st time

Melissa Robertson is at home recovering after she was shot twice, her neighbor is charged in the shooting and with a hate crime

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Melissa Robertson knows pain. She also knows perseverance.

"They just got the 42 staples out yesterday, and then five more from where the bullet went in," she told NBC Chicago's Courtney Sisk. “There’s no way I was going out with that type of anger. I have a point to prove.”

It was just three weeks ago when Robertson was shot twice. The bullets nearly severed her arm, and caused her colon to split.

Authorities charged her neighbor, 70-year-old John Shadbar in the shooting. He faces nine felony charges, including attempted first-degree murder, felony possession of a firearm and a hate crime.

Robertson is white, but her two children are Black.

The shooting happened when her youngest son, just 8 years old, was outside playing with a friend.

"I heard like him [Shadbar] yelling the n-word and things," Robertson recalled. “He kept saying that there was going to be dead people and he was going to kill, and I heard that and I was like get the kids in the house.”

She went to confront her neighbor about the slurs and threats when she said he shot her.

"He looked me dead in my eyes when he shot me," she said. "That’s evil. That’s hatred."

Robertson said her and her sons have been subjected to relentless threats and slurs from their neighbor since they moved to their home 10 years ago. Family told NBC Chicago that Shadbar would often fire his gun in his yard and had also thrown fireworks across the fence between the two homes.

Robertson said she called police before, and although they showed up to his home, she wishes more would have been done.

“I’m sad for him. That he’s been so negative and evil and angry," she said.

"You see stuff like this on the headlines, and you look past it and don’t think twice, but when it happens to you it’s a totally different feeling," her oldest son, 21-year-old Mikeal Johnson said.

Robertson spent eight days on a ventilator and underwent several surgeries. Three weeks later, she's back at home with her kids, donning a few battle wounds and a smile, sharing a message.

"All you’re doing is making people stronger," she said. "Because that’s disgusting, and it’ll never win.”

A judge denied Shadbar pretrial release earlier this month. Robertson's family set up an online fundraiser for her recovery expenses.

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