Driver fired AR-15 during traffic stop on the Magnificent Mile, Chicago police report says

Justin Griffin and a rifle similar to the one he is accused of firing. (Chicago Police Department, DPMSinc.com, Google)

CHICAGO — A Milwaukee man faces felony charges after he fired, apparently unintentionally, an AR-15 during a traffic stop on the Magnificent Mile.

Chicago cops pulled Justin Griffin over in the 500 block of North Michigan around 3:30 p.m. on March 19 because they did not see any license plates on his Infiniti sedan, a CPD arrest report said.

As soon as the officers exited their squad car to speak with the 22-year-old, they heard a “muffled gunshot” and “visibly saw smoke scatter from below the passenger side of the vehicle on the concrete as if a live round had made contact with the ground,” the report continued.

The cops continued toward the car “cautiously” and immediately saw a loaded AR-15 rifle sticking out from under a pair of sweatpants on the passenger seat, the report said. One shell casing was allegedly recovered at the scene.

Prosecutors charged Griffin with reckless discharge of a firearm and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. The CPD report said officers wanted prosecutors to also charge him with possessing a stolen firearm. However, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office rejected that charge because the rifle was stolen in 2018 and “could have made contact with multiple individuals” since then, the arrest report said.

Judge William Fahy denied the state’s petition to keep Griffin in custody pretrial. Instead, the judge decided to release Griffin under a nighttime curfew.

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