RIVERDALE, Ill. (CBS) – Police are releasing a sketch of a possible suspect in the shooting death of a south suburban businessman killed in his home early Thursday.

Melvin Burnside

Melvin Burnside (center), 51, was shot and killed in his Riverdale home. (Credit: CBS)

Melvin Burnside, 51, was shot at his home at 14319 S. Clark St. in Riverdale, according to a release from Riverdale police.

For more than 30 years, Burnside worked behind the bar at Reese’s Lounge, a family-run South Side institution popular with cops. Half an hour after he helped his brother Maurice Jr. lock-up in the early hours of Thursday, he was shot by a gunman relatives believe may have followed him home.

Burnside, 52, was pronounced dead at Ingalls Hospital in Harvey, shortly after the 2:30 a.m. shooting, authorities said.

“I heard two shots and I thought it was a bad dream,” neighbor DJ Hampton said. “When I came outside, the police were there.

“Mr. Burnside looked out for everyone — he was a good person.”

Riverdale Surveillance Image

A surveillance image believed to be of the suspect who shot and killed Melvin Burnside in his Riverdale home. (Credit: CBS)

The gunman robbed Burnside after shooting him inside his home on the 14300 block of South Clark Street, authorities said.

About 2 a.m., the Riverdale Fire Department responded and took one person to Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey in an unidentified condition, a firefighter said. Burnside was pronounced dead at Ingalls at 3:20 a.m., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

No one was in custody as of Friday morning, and investigators are interviewing witnesses, the release said.

The victim’s brother the Rev. Michael Burnside, pastor of the congregation at New Name Missionary Baptist Church just a few blocks from Burnside’s home, said it’s possible the killer followed him from the bar at 87th and Honore.

Police sources said Burnside had a reputation for showing off rolls of cash.

“He didn’t have a lot of money, but it might have seemed like he did because he wasn’t always careful,” the pastor said. “He was the entrepreneur of the family and he tried and tried and tried and never gave up.”

Police released a sketch of a suspect in the fatal shooting Friday, but a police spokeswoman had no additional details about the incident and declined to give an official description of the suspect.

Riverdale police and the South Suburban Major Crimes Task Force are investigating. Anyone with information should call Riverdale police at (708) 841-2203, ext. 2.

© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

Watch & Listen LIVE