The Lookout

Retired police officer shoots and kills his son, mistaking him for a burglar

The Lookout



A retired Chicago police officer has shot and killed his son, after mistaking him for a burglar.

Michael Griffin, 48, died of a gunshot wound to the head at his father's home in the northwest side of Chicago, CBS Local Chicago reports.

It was a tragic case of mistaken identity for Michael's father, Chicago Police Detective James Griffin, according to another son.

"My brother was staying there, and last I heard they were watching the Jay Leno show and my dad fell asleep," Stephen Griffin told CBS Local Chicago. According to police, Michael had apparently left the apartment and returned through a back door.

"And I guess he assumed my brother was at home sleeping, and when someone came in the back door, he just naturally assumed it was an intruder," Stephen said of his father.

"At that time he didn't know who he shot," Griffin, 47, told the Chicago Tribune. "Then he called me back and told me the bad news,'' said Griffin, whose mother died in 1999. "I'm just glad my mom wasn't around to see this."

Griffin said his father, who is 77, was a police officer for more than 40 years, serving as a homicide detective and then retiring in 1998.

He told the Chicago newspaper that his father's senses "aren't as sharp as they used to be,'' but that he is still healthy enough to play in a local basketball league.

"He's in pretty good health except for some bumps and bruises from playing basketball," Griffin told the Tribune. "I don't know if his age had a lot to do with it."

This is the second incident in recent weeks in which a father shot and killed a son, mistaking him for an intruder.

Last month, a Connecticut teacher shot and killed a young man wearing a mask in his neighbor's yard — only to learn later the young man he had killed was his son.

Chicago police have not filed any charges in the Griffin family incident. They are investigating.

"I'm still freaking out about it," Griffin said about his father's case to the Tribune. "I have two sons of my own, and I can't imagine how he must feel.''

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