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Source: Man Found In Schiller Park Bar Fire Was Shot

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Schiller Park Fire

An extra-alarm fire broke out at the Horseshoe Inn bar in Schiller Park. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 01/27/11 4:52 p.m.

SCHILLER PARK (CBS) – A man found dead in a burning tavern early this morning in Schiller Park might have been murdered, a source tells Newsradio 780.

The man is identified as 67-year-old George Markopolous.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Mary Frances Bragiel reports


A source tells Newsradio 780 that he was found in the Horse Shoe Inn bar and restaurant with a gunshot wound to the head.

Police will not confirm this, saying that’s a “crazy rumor.”

After combing the scene Thursday, investigators said they’re not sure how Markopolous died. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.

The victim’s fiancée, Helen Rofus, said she’s suspicious.

“Just things he has told me that have gone on here, break-ins, and just some shady things,” Rofus said. “He was a very generous guy. He would take you off the street if you needed help. He had homeless people sleeping here on the pool table. He would bring them in if they were sick and feed them. He would give his live for anybody.”

Police do say the fire is suspicious.

The medical examiner’s office says an autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

The extra-alarm fire broke out early Thursday and fire crews responded to the blaze at the Horseshoe Inn at 9639 W. Irving Park Rd., shortly before 4 a.m. The fire was later raised to a third alarm.

A body was recovered from inside the building, police said. The victim was identified by Schiller Park police as Markopoulos, who lived in the same building as the bar that burned. The death is under investigation by the West Suburban Major Crimes Task Force.

Schiller Park Fire Chief Tom Deegan said the victim lived in the “older” building at 9639 Irving Park Rd. The Horse Shoe Inn bar and restaurant is located on the first floor, police said.

“When crews got there, there was heavy smoke coming out the front door of the building,’’ according to Deegan, who said the tavern had closed at 2 a.m. and the fire call came in about 3:45 a.m. Markopoulos’ body was found in the tavern, near the foot of a stairway leading to the residential area where he lived, Deegan said.

Markopoulos was pronounced dead at 4:46 a.m. at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. The victim was not burned.

Deegan said several other searches were done and no one else was found.

The fire engulfed the building and a second alarm was called at 4:10 a.m., a third at 5 a.m.

“The damage is significant, ’’ Deegan said.

No fire code violations were found in the building, which receives annual inspections.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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