The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Longtime UPS Employee Shot Dead on the Way to Work, Family Says

By Erica Demarest | November 13, 2013 1:15pm | Updated on November 13, 2013 5:22pm
  Michael Sullivan, 53, was heading to the train when he was killed, family said. Police said it could've been a robbery.
Michael Sullivan
View Full Caption

WEST GARFIELD PARK — Michael Sullivan had the same routine every night, his family said.

The 53-year-old grandfather would leave his West Garfield Park home around 11 p.m. and head to the Pulaski Green Line stop.

From there, Sullivan — a 32-year employee of UPS — would make his way to the shipping company's Near West Side customer center at 1500 S. Jefferson St., where he sorted boxes during a midnight shift.

But on Tuesday, Sullivan never made it in.

He was fatally shot in his head in the 4200 block of West Lake Street, about two blocks from the train station. Sullivan was pronounced dead on the scene at 11:26 p.m.

Detectives said the shooting may have been a botched robbery, and relatives said drug-related violence is a problem in the area.

"Knowing the neighborhood, it had to be a robbery. It's the only thing it could've been," said younger brother Fredrick Sullivan, 49. "He was never in a gang, didn't drink, didn't smoke, never used drugs — none of those things. And he was on dialysis" for kidney problems related to diabetes.

James Tharpe, who has known Sullivan for 30 years working out of the same UPS facility, said he last talked with Sullivan Monday about a familiar topic: retirement.

"I worked for 32 years and he worked for 33 years," Tharpe said. "That's what we talk about. 'When you gonna go? When you gonna go?' "

Tharpe said he learned of his friend's death when he came in for work Wednesday when all of his colleagues seemed "surprised" and "upset."

Relatives said Michael Sullivan was friendly, easygoing and had a "father figure" vibe about him. He was loving but "kind of strict" with his two daughters, the youngest of whom will turn 29 on Thursday. And he was especially proud of his two grandsons: 5-year-old Brian and 1-month-old "J.J."

"It was real senseless," Jerome Mitchell, 62, said of his younger brother's murder. "It’s senseless.”

Michael Sullivan lived with Mitchell and their mother in the 5300 block of West Maypole Avenue.

“It’s going to be a loss — a real considerable loss," Mitchell said. "It was just us three. Now one is missing. We don’t know how my mother’s going to take it.”

Family said Sullivan spent a lot of time at home, especially as his diabetes has worsened over the years. Since about 2007, he's gone for dialysis three times a week.

"It took a lot out of him," Fredrick Sullivan said.

Michael Sullivan played football in high school and still loved watching the game, relatives said. His brothers couldn't decide if he liked the Cowboys or Bears more, but they agreed on one thing: Gale Sayers was Sullivan's all-time favorite player.

Family said Sullivan really liked computers and held a degree from DeVry University. He hoped to do something computer-related one day, but for now was happy at UPS.

As of Wednesday, no one was in custody, police said.

Contributing Tanveer Ali.