“We’re here today because we are completely appalled at the despicable, atrocious and barbaric manner in which one of our son’s life was taken,” said Rev. Ira Acree, pastor of the Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin.
Acree stood on the 5400 block of West Walton on Friday afternoon to offer a $2,500 reward on behalf of the Leaders Network, the West Side religious organization of which the pastor is a member. The reward is for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever murdered Demetrius Griffin, Jr.
The body of Griffin, a 15-year-old Steinmetz student, was discovered inside of a trash can in a garage on the 5500 block of West Cortez Street last Saturday at around 1:30 a.m. The teenager was burned beyond recognition.
According to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, the exact cause of Griffin’s death hasn’t been determined yet and police haven’t arrested anyone in connection to the murder.
“This is a new low,” said Acree. “Who does this? Who takes a kid, shoots him and sets his body on fire? This is unacceptable and we want that person off the street.”
Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) said she’s kept in contact with Griffin’s grieving mother since the tragedy and that area detectives told her they would keep her updated on the status of the case. As of Friday afternoon, the detectives were still looking for clues, Mitts said.
“No child is safe as long as the animal who did this is still running free,” the alderman said. Police have noted that whoever committed the murder may have suffered burns from the fire.
Rev. Cy Fields, the president of the Leaders Network, urged young people to utilize their social media platforms to help find Griffin’s murderer and called on anyone with information to “stand for humanity” and call the police.
Polly Sykes, Griffin’s mother, said she knew something wasn’t quite right when her son missed his curfew on Friday. She learned about her son’s death by way of a press conference, she said.
Sykes, who arrived after Friday’s press conference, sobbed into the suits of the clergymen in between pleading with residents to help police find her son’s murderer and thanking those in attendance for the support.
“I’m taking everything day by day,” she said, still stricken by grief, but not too shaken to walk the blocks in the area with Acree, Mitts and several others who were handing out flyers showing Griffin’s young face.
Anyone with information about Griffin’s case is urged to call Chicago Police Department detectives at (312) 744-8261.