Grand jury to determine if South Bend shooting was justified

James Griffin

A grand jury will be asked to determine whether a recent fatal South Bend shooting was justified.

James Griffin, 47, was arrested on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of 25-year-old Curdin A. Gizewski. Police found him deceased when they responded Sunday night to a home in the 1300 block of South 31st Street.

During St. Joseph County Metro Homicide's investigation, they found that there had been "prior violent interactions" between Griffin and Gizewski, including an altercation just before the shooting.

Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth P. Cotter announced Tuesday that he will ask a grand jury to determine whether criminal charges are appropriate or if this was a case of justifiable homicide, self-defense, and defense of others.

Griffin will be released from the St. Joseph County Jail until a determination is made.



UPDATE: Man arrested, victim identified in South Bend shooting
By Joel Porter
December 12, 2016

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -- A man was shot and killed inside a South Bend home Sunday night.

South Bend police booked James Griffin into the county jail on a manslaughter charge.

They say Griffin and his spouse were watching their grandkids on Sunday, celebrating Christmas two weeks early in their home on south 31st street.

“It spoiled a person's Christmas for two families' sake,” Phil Niswonger said.

Not the sort of bright, colorful lights you hope to see on your street on a cold, December evening.

“We have the lowest crime rate for one and a half square miles for a neighborhood. We're probably the safest neighborhood in South Bend,” Niswonger said. He serves on the River Park Neighborhood Association.

That changed Sunday night when police say a fight happened inside this festive home on 31st street. At around 10:00 p.m., police say James Griffin shot and killed Curdin Gizewski inside his home.

“A person has a right to bear arms and defend themselves, but it's a shame that those kinds of things happen,” Niswonger said.

St. Joseph County Metro Homicide detectives haven't told us exactly what happened inside the home Sunday evening. One day later, the house itself remains taped off and officers are outside watching the home in shifts, although they're not telling us why. Neighbors would not talk on camera, but they tell us the couple inside the home was watching their grandkids celebrating Christmas before the violence happened.

“Everybody who's a citizen needs to look out for their neighbor,” Niswonger said.

The home itself remains under close watch, not just by curious neighbors, but also police. Today, they booked Griffin into the county jail on a manslaughter charge.

According to the police record and the statement put out today, both Griffin and Gizewski knew one another.

It appears the two men fought before Griffin took out his gun, but metro homicide detectives haven't described the circumstances.

The case doesn’t appear to be a break-in or home invasion since the two men knew each other and neighbors say they didn't hear any loud noises before police showed up.

A man is in custody after a fatal shooting in South Bend on Sunday night.

An autopsy for Gizewski will happen on Tuesday in Kalamazoo.