BELOIT—Jion Broomfield will be remembered by those who knew him for his loving nature and devotion to his family and friends, his parents say, as the Beloit community mourns his untimely death.
A 19-year-old who graduated from Beloit Memorial High School last year, Jion Bromfield loved all things sports, especially basketball, and was a social butterfly when he was in familiar surroundings and people.
“He was a family-type of person who loved them above all,” said his mother Teresa Jackson. “He was quiet and laid back until you got to know him.”
Bromfield was fatally shot on Jan. 29 following a disturbance after a basketball game at Beloit Memorial High School.
Jackson said her son was just beginning to mature and get his life on track. She said he recently looked into getting an apartment while also making plans to enroll in the Blackhawk Technical College automotive program.
“He was turning into what kind of man he was going to be and they took that from me. They took everything from me,” Jackson said. “He was somebody and he was going somewhere.”
Following his death, family and friends took to social media to fondly remember the young man, sharing photos, videos and other memories of their time with him.
“I did not realize the effect he had on everyone,” Jackson said. “He had a big support system, but I never knew how many people loved him until he passed away.”
Even in death, Bromfield’s support system still remains strong, with Beloit Learning Academy Social Worker Audrey Buchanan to participate in reading his obituary during a funeral service set for this weekend. Jackson said Buchanan played a key part in helping get her son’s academic career on a path that led him to donning a cap and gown for graduation.
In the wake of his death, Jackson said she took it upon herself to be vocal on social media imploring people to come forward to police about the shooting death of her son. In the days that followed the shooting, Beloit Police Chief Andre Sayles spoke harshly against a culture of “no-snitching” that had initially slowed the investigation. But on Tuesday, the department had announced an arrest warrant for a 19-year-old Madison man who was allegedly the shooter. Amaree A. Goodall is being sought on a charge of first degree reckless homicide.
She urged families who have lost a loved one to gun violence to work closely with the police department, telling those affected to be persistent in getting answers while also understanding that the process for investigations takes time.
“I had to learn to back off sometimes because you get angry and want justice,” Jackson said. “Sometimes you have to back off and let them do their jobs.”
Jackson said Beloit Police Detective Amber Davies, who has served in the department for over two decades, personally met with her after the department had identified a suspect in her son’s case.
While she wanted to thank Davies for her work, Jackson said the courage of the young people who came forward as witnesses to the shooting needed to be commended.
“I think the kids who weren’t scared to come forward are an example,” Jackson added. “I want to thank them for doing what they did to talk to the police.”
Jimmie Broomfield, Jion’s father, grew up in the Merrill Neighborhood and said he thinks the lack of trust between the community and police department could stem from the department’s youth, referencing the young officers tasked with patrolling the city. To better understand the community and build trust, Broomfield urged the department’s leadership to consider bringing back long-time veterans to train younger officers and to offer mentorship.
“The young kids don’t always wanna talk to these young officers because they have a youth mentality. They have to gain and earn that trust,” Broomfield said.
Both Jackson and Broomfield spoke out against the gun violence that’s plagued Beloit recently.
“The sad truth of it is that Jion won’t be the last, but he may be the spark to start something happening for people to continue to come forward and say something,” Broomfield said.
Jackson spoke directly to those committing gun crimes in Beloit.
“Be mindful of your actions,” she said. “You hurt everyone and everyone is impacted by your actions. Bullets have no eyes. You can’t just shoot into a crowd. You can’t do that. That’s not acceptable. You can’t go around shooting guns.”
A visitation will be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Feb 19 with a service to follow at Central Christian Church, 2460 Milwaukee Road.