Councilman says chief wasn’t target of a criminal probe — (The Sun News)

SSRI Ed note: Man on Paxil shoots himself while talking on the phone about fixing a speeding ticket.

Original article no longer available

The Sun News

Posted on Sat, Feb. 08, 2003

By Sophia Maines and Dave Gustafson, The Sun News

SURFSIDE BEACH – Public Safety Director Michael Grigg was not under criminal investigation when he committed suicide Wednesday in his office, Town Councilman P.L. Mabry said Friday.

Town officials had said they were talking with Grigg about the fixing of a ticket and another matter Wednesday but presented no evidence or documents regarding those matters Friday.

They did release a statement expressing their grief and sympathies for the family.

“We regret any statements made which did not adequately express our deep sympathy for Mr. Grigg’s family and our great sadness at this event,” Town Administrator Michael Kovacs said in a release.

Town Attorney N. David DuRant said he and Kovacs were speaking to Grigg during a conference call from DuRant’s office when Grigg shot himself.

DuRant said Wednesday they were discussing disciplinary procedures for two matters involving Grigg, 53.

One of those matters involved a speeding ticket issued to Mabry’s wife.

Mabry said Friday one of Grigg’s officers offered to fix a speeding ticket his wife received for driving 43 mph in a 30 mph zone on Surfside Drive. Mabry did not accept the offer and brought the matter to town administrators, he said, saying the matter was not a big deal.

Grigg’s job brought with it a lot of pressure, said his wife, Patricia Grigg.

“Unfortunately, it’s a small town, and there were a lot of politics,” she said.

The chief had a history of depression and had been prescribed Paxil, according to coroner’s reports.

The Town Council held two emergency meetings Thursday, both in executive session. The first session ended abruptly, Councilman Sammy Truett said, because they cited the wrong reason for going into a closed-door session.

A second closed meeting convened 1? hours later on the basis of a Freedom of Information Act law exemption for discussions regarding “allegations of criminal misconduct.”

Councilman Joseph Martin said Friday he did not think criminal misconduct was discussed.

“We have been fortunate, in our town’s short history, to have been spared a tragedy like this,” Kovacs said in his statement.

“Unfortunately, that has made it all the more difficult for us to know how to respond to this event.”

On Friday, the town continued to receive fire and police operations assistance from Horry County.

Patricia Grigg and her three children, Daniel, 21, Michael, 27, and Lauren, 18, recalled a man dedicated to service.

“He was a very by-the-book cop,” Patricia Grigg said. “His biggest goal was to make people feel safe.”

Originally from Pennsylvania, Grigg moved to Surfside Beach in 2000 to become police chief after retiring from the Atlantic City (N.J.) Police Department, where he had worked for 26 years.

In New Jersey, Grigg worked with the SWAT team, taught at a police academy and wrote grants and the budget for the Police Department, his wife said.

The funeral services are at 10 a.m. Monday at St. Michael Catholic Church.

Goldfinch Funeral Home, beach chapel, is in charge.

“He was an officer with a sense of morality,” she said. “He was completely professional.”

Contact SOPHIA MAINES at 626-0377, 1-800-568-1800, Ext. 377, or Contact DAVE GUSTAFSON at 444-1761 or