Tommie Griffin, a 52-year-old decorated former Cleveland police officer who won the department’s distinguished service medal in 2009, fatally shot himself in the chest with an AR-15 in the basement of a Cleveland home where investigators think he had been hiding since late Monday, Cleveland.com reports.
“Mr. Griffin put Cleveland police in a very, very bad position,” US Marshal Pete Elliott said. “It’s not the ending we wanted to see, but it is what it is.”
Griffin, who disappeared one week ahead of his scheduled trial on multiple counts of rape and domestic violence for allegedly attacking his 42-year-old girlfriend took his life as a SWAT team entered the home at about 5:30 p.m., Elliott said.
The one-time winner of the department’s distinguished service medal cut off his GPS ankle monitor Oct. 23, ahead of his rape trial, authorities said Monday sparking a manhunt by the US Marshals and the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.
Griffin III disappeared one week ahead of his scheduled trial on several counts of rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and domestic violence against his girlfriend, after he caught her cheating.
The attack occurred one day after Griffin discovered his girlfriend with another man inside their home on Jan. 13. He had been placed on house arrest after posting bond in March.
Griffin did not leave a suicide note, authorities said.
SWAT and police surround the Cleveland home where Griffin III ended his life on Tuesday evening
The one time cop was arrested after he struck his girlfriend with his service weapon and hit her in the face several times before firing two rounds into a mattress, just inches from her head, according to court records.
He then forced the woman to take a shower before making her perform a sex act on him at gunpoint, police said. Investigators later seized more than 60 guns from Griffin’s home. The felony charges carry a combined maximum penalty of 28 years in prison if he’s found guilty.
A judge approved an arrest warrant for Griffin after he violated those conditions of his release.
Griffin, who won the police department’s distinguished service medal in 2009, joined the department in 1994 and resigned from his position in March. Ironically, Griffin at one time worked alongside some of the responding SWAT officers.
He’d stayed at a Motel 6 in North Ridgeville on Saturday and Sunday with the help of an accomplice. Another accomplice then drove him on Monday to the friend’s home where he took his life and authorities in Cleveland expect at least one accomplice to be criminally charged for helping the fugitive ex-cop.
According to WOIO , investigators also want to know how Griffin, who had more than 60 guns in his home after his arrest for the alleged January attack, got his hands on the suicide weapon, an AR-15.
“That’s a powerful weapon that could have been used on any one of our guys,” Elliott said. “That was the worry we had all day – that he was going to take one of us out.”
Authorities will now work to trace the AR-15 back to its original owner.