Michael Griffin killed in Far Northwest Side shooting - FOX 32 News Chicago

Retired Chicago cop fatally shot son after mistaking him for burglar

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

EXCLUSIVE: FOX Chicago News learned Tuesday morning that a retired Chicago police officer was involved in a shooting that left one man dead on the Far Northwest Side Monday night.

That man was his son, 48-year-old Michael Griffin. James Griffin shot and killed his own son after mistaking him for a burglar trying to enter his home, in what sources describe to be a tragic accident.

Michael Griffin was shot in the head inside the 78-year-old's home in the 5300 block of North Delphia Avenue, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office, near Foster and Cumberland.

Griffin had been temporarily living with his father and went out late Monday night. When he returned home a little later, wearing a skull cap, the father thought his son was a burglar and then shot him.

Police responded to the house near O'Hare International Airport about 12:45 a.m. and found him inside residence, police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. Crime seen investigators spent hours at the scene.

Michael Griffin died of a gunshot wound to the head and fire officials transported his father to the hospital. There is no word yet on James Griffin's condition.

Neighbors said James Griffin is a good neighbor and a very nice man, one who would always look out for those who might be in trouble. They said they feel safer having the retired police officer living in the building.

Some residents reported hearing a loud boom, but didn't know what happened. As they learned of the tragic situation, their thoughts turned to heartache the father must be feeling.

"It has to rip his heart right out of his chest...it's sad," neighbor Jim Delaney remarked.

"As a parent, I can't even imagine what he is going through right now," said another neighbor, Tania Reffke. "Sometimes you have that fear of your children--something happening--but to do it to your child accidentally, I just couldn't imagine. My heart goes out to him."

Catherine Matzaris said she was awakened early Tuesday, not by gunshots, but by detectives knocking on her door.

Matzaris, 71, described her neighbor as a "nice" and "quiet" man, who liked to chat about his son and grandchild, who live out of state. Matzaris said she last chatted with her neighbor Saturday.

"He was nice," Matzaris. "I don't see [anything] wrong with him."

During the day, detectives and other officers were seen going into the apartment. Griffin himself was taken to Resurrection Hospital where he was treated and released for an undisclosed condition.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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