Chicago Police Officer Jim Mullen, Paralyzed in Shooting, Settles Case

Family, Defendant Agree to Undisclosed Amount
April 27, 2000

Chicago Police Officer James Mullen, 35, who was shot in the face and rendered a quadriplegic while responding to a police call in 1996, today settled his lawsuit for an undisclosed amount against the Professionals Detective Agency, the employer of the man who wounded him. Mullen's assailant, George Guirsch, is currently serving a 70 year sentence for attempted murder. A lawsuit against Guirsch, individually, is still unresolved.

The City of Chicago, which paid all of Officer Mullen's medical bills, chose not to seek any reimbursement from the settlement proceeds. Mullen expressed his gratitude for the City's decision saying, "It has always been the highest privilege to serve the people of Chicago. I will continue to do whatever I can to represent the City and I am grateful for all they have done. I am glad the lawsuit is behind me and that we can get on with the rest of our lives."

Officer Mullen is represented by Philip H. Corboy of Corboy & Demetrio.

Mullen was wounded on October 17, 1996 when he and other officers responded to a report of gunshots being fired from an apartment building in the 1400 block of W. Estes. The officers announced themselves but heard no response. Suddenly, the front door opened and the assailant, George Guirsch, then an off-duty security guard and employee of the Professionals Detective Agency, began firing his weapon. Other officers subdued Guirsch and found Mullen laying on the ground, bleeding from his mouth and face.

Mullen had been shot in the face and the bullet had lodged in his spinal column, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Today, Mullen is confined to a wheelchair and unable to breathe on his own. He continues to suffer from muscle spasms and seizures.

Prior to the shooting, Mullen had been a police officer for almost six years. A plain clothes officer, he was assigned to the Rogers Park District. He is currently on duty disability with the Police Department.

Mullen had filed a lawsuit against both his assailant and the employer, alleging that the Agency was negligent in failing to adequately investigate Guirsch's background before hiring him as a security guard and assisting him in buying a Firearms Authorization Card. 

The settlement today only resolved Officer Mullen's suit against the Professional Detective Agency. The Mullens' suit against Guirsch is ongoing, said Kotin.

Mullen and his wife Athena, 37, have a four year old daughter, born just seven months before the shooting. Athena is an officer with the community policing office of the 24th District. The family lives on the northwest side of Chicago.

This case name is James J. and Athena Mullen v. George Guirsch and Professionals Detective Agency, Inc. Case Number: 96 L 14285