Former Cleveland police officer who broke GPS monitor found dead in home after SWAT standoff

Posted at 11:54 AM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 22:42:21-04

The former Cleveland police officer who was on the run after breaking his GPS monitor was found dead after a SWAT standoff Tuesday. 

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U.S. Marshals have been searching for Tommie Griffin III since he broke the monitor over the weekend.

Officers entered the home after a six-hour standoff, heard a gunshot and found Griffin in the basement with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police say Griffin shot himself with an AR-15.

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott told News 5 is was very difficult for Griffin's former police colleges, with Cleveland's first district, to make the terrible discovery in the home.

"I feel very badly for the Cleveland police officers who had to go in the house today, and who knew him, and had to witness this," said Elliot.

Authorities said he had been hiding out in a Motel 6 until Monday night, when he was moved to the home on Cleveland's west side.

Read more of our previous reporting here.

He was due to begin his trial this month to face charges for allegedly beating and sexually assaulting his girlfriend earlier this year.

Griffin was arrested in January after his girlfriend said he entered her bedroom, attacked her, sexually assaulted her and fired two shots next to her. She also said he pointed the gun at her and struck her several times on her face with his hands and the gun. She was treated at a hospital for her injuries.

He was charged with rape, kidnapping, felonious assault, domestic violence, tampering with evidence, possessing criminal tools, pandering obscenity and telecommunications harassment.

News 5 learned Monday that Griffin had violated bond before and that his bond was reduced before he posted bail in March.

Griffin’s bond was reduced on March 6 to $200,000 after a motion was granted by Judge Maureen Clancy. He posted bond on March 8 and was released from jail on March 10.

The motion argued that since Griffin has extensive family ties to Northeast Ohio, he was employed with the Cleveland Police Department, he has limited financial resources and his mental condition is sound, he was not a flight risk. 

He resigned from his position with the Cleveland Police Department the same day the motion was granted — on Feb. 27. He was on unpaid leave from the time he was arrested until his resignation.

The prosecutor's office argued in its motion of opposition that, due to the seriousness of Griffin's conduct and the allegation that he fired a duty-issued pistol at the victim several times while in uniform, he should not be given a reduced bond. 

As part of his bond, Griffin was required to wear a GPS monitoring device and not allowed to contact the victim. He was only permitted to leave his home for court appearances, probation appointments and verified medical appointments and was ordered to report weekly to the probation department to submit to drug and alcohol testing.

Griffin was booked back in jail on March 27 for violating the terms of his bond. According to the prosecutor's office, he tested positive for alcohol. 

He was released again on April 27 — this time with an additional monitor used for tracking alcohol.