A SWAT team surrounded a house on the west side of Cleveland at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Inside was Tommie Griffin III, 52, a former police officer who once worked with several members of the SWAT team. Griffin had spent 22 years as a decorated member of the Cleveland Police Department, until he allegedly pistol-whipped and raped his girlfriend in January, which led to his arrest and subsequent resignation from the force.

He’d spent the past several months under house arrest. Then on Saturday, he cut off his GPS ankle monitor, prompting a manhunt by the U.S. Marshals Service that eventually brought the SWAT team to the house in the Kamm’s Corners neighborhood.


For six hours, police shouted over a bullhorn in a desperate attempt to contact Griffin, Cleveland.com reported. Two nearby schools went on lockdown. Eventually, the SWAT team entered the house.


But it was futile.

Griffin, hiding in the basement, held an AR-15 rifle to his chest and pulled the trigger. The SWAT team found his body. He didn’t leave a note.

“It’s a tragedy, a tragedy for the division of police family and for his family,” Daniel Fay, 1st District Commander, told Fox 8 Cleveland. “We wanted him to come out peacefully and have his day in court, period.”

“I feel very sad in my heart for the Cleveland police officers who knew this individual and had to go in that house,” U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott added.


Griffin joined the Cleveland Police Department in 1994. In 2009, while working as a patrol officer, he was awarded the distinguished service medal.

On Jan. 13, Griffin found his 42-year-old girlfriend with another man, according to court records obtained by Cleveland.com.

A little after midnight, Griffin returned to his girlfriend’s house in nearby Parma while she was sleeping. Still wearing his police uniform, he punched and pistol-whipped her several times, then held his gun next to her face before firing two shots into the mattress, according to court records.


Police said he then ordered her to take a shower before taking her to the basement, where he pointed the gun at her and forced her to perform a sex act on him. Then, he drove away from the house alone, according to court documents.


A relative of Griffin’s girlfriend called Parma police after not being able to reach her. The relative told police that Griffin and his girlfriend had a “volatile relationship.”

Police found the woman alone in her house on Jan. 14. Her face was severely injured, and her home was in disarray, Cleveland 19 reported. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Parma police arrested Griffin later that day.

Authorities later found more than 60 firearms in his home, including an Uzi submachine gun and five assault rifles, according to the Associated Press.

Griffin was charged with rape, kidnapping, domestic violence and felonious assault, according to online court records. His bond was set at $250,000 but later lowered to $200,000 after his attorney argued he was not a flight risk. He remained in jail until March, when he posted bond and was placed under house arrest.


Meanwhile, Griffin was placed on unpaid leave from the department while the case was pending, until he resigned in March.

He was set to go on trial on Oct. 30.

After cutting off the GPS monitor on Saturday, Griffin stayed at a Motel 6 for two days with an unnamed accomplice, Elliott said at a news conference. Elliott added that the accomplice would be charged, but he didn’t elaborate on what the charges would be.

Another unnamed person brought him to the house where he killed himself, police said.

“Mr. Griffin put Cleveland police in a very, very bad position,” he said. “It’s not the ending we wanted to see, but it is what it is.”

More from Morning Mix: