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Massive Search Continues In Killing of Fox Lake Police Lieutenant

Michael Schmidt
Police officers confer while searching for three suspects in Tuesday's shooting death of a police officer near Fox Lake, Ill., about 50 miles north of Chicago.

UPDATE: 2:10 p.m., 9/2/15

About 100 investigators are actively working on the investigation into the death of Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, Lake County law enforcement officials told a news conference this morning. Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said the active force is down from 400 during Tuesday's initial response.

No additional details were given of the three suspects -- described simply as two white males and one black male -- in the officer's death.

Investigators from McHenry County, the Illinois State Police, the FBI, and U.S. Marshals continue to follow up on tips from the public. An autopsy conducted Tuesday night  confirms Gliniewicz died from a gunshot wound. No other details of the autopsy were released at the news conference.

Filenko said the search continues, but there is no evidence the suspects are in the area or are traveling together. Gliniewicz decided to chase the subjects, and the only description he gave was that there were three of them: two were white, and one was black. Investigators are going through security video from businesses in the area.

Filenko said that, while there have been no major developments in the search, police are "following up leads."

Meanwhile, the community plans a vigil this evening to honor the 30-year police veteran. It starts at 6 p.m. at Lakefront Park.

NPR's Cheryl Corley reports from Chicago:

"Authorities say they have thoroughly searched a perimeter of 2 square miles where a backup officer found Gliniewicz, and are now conducting saturation patrols as they expand where they are looking for the suspects."

Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman Christopher Covelli told The Associated Press on Wednesday morning that police are no longer confining their search within the 2-mile area.

"The suspects were not within our perimeter," Covelli said. "We had over 400 police officers out here yesterday. We had over 45 canine units and numerous aircraft," he said.

Earlier coverage below:

The search continues today for three suspects in the shooting death Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who was killed shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday after he stopped to investigate “suspicious activity” involving two white men and one black man.

Credit provided, Fox Lake Police Department
Fox Lake Police Lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz


Gliniewicz, 52, was a 30-year veteran of the force who headed the department's Explorer Post, among other duties. He was married and the father of four children.

Fox Lake School District 114, Big Hollow District 38, Gavin District 37, along with Grant High School all announced they would be closed today due to the continuing search, the Chicago Tribune reported. St. Bede Catholic School also will be closed.

Lake County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Chris Covelli told a news conference Tuesday the officer “was in a foot pursuit when communication was lost.”

Covelli said a backup officer arrived at the location, near U.S. 12 and Sayton Road,  and found the wounded officer, who had been stripped of his sidearm and Mace.

“This is a two-pronged investigation,” Covelli said. “We’re looking into the apprehension of the three suspects at large … We’re working the investigation of the officer who was (killed), so the Lake County Major Crime Task Force has been called in for that and is heading up that investigation.”

Credit Google Maps
The small Lake County community where Lt. Gliniewicz was shot and killed.

Lt. Gliniewicz, known to many in his community as "G.I. Joe," was preparing for an early retirement, according to his friend, Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit. Schmit told a group of reporters the shooting was tough on the community, especially police officers. He said, “They’re dealing with the loss of their colleague, partner, while also identifying efforts to find the person responsible for this senseless tragedy.”

The investigation includes “numerous” canines, helicopters and aircraft in addition to a large number of officers on foot from several law enforcement agencies in both Lake and McHenry counties as well as the Illinois State Police.

One of the suspects was reported to be in custody by mid-afternoon: this was not substantiated by police and the search continues for three suspects. 

Grant Community High School was one of a number of schools on lockdown throughout the day.  Parents were allowed to pick up their children at 4:00 at the school, about an hour after the regular dismissal time. 

The Metra Milwaukee District North Line through the area was closed down for several hours but was reported back in operation after 3 p.m..

Illinois State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, a Crystal Lake Republican whose district includes Fox Lake, issued a statement calling for calm.

"As information continues to come in about the shooting of another police officer in the line of duty in Fox Lake, I hope we can all remain calm and pray for the officer’s family and the other officers in harm's-way right now," the statement said. "Eleven police officers have needlessly lost their lives since Aug. 20th alone in America because of shootings and sadly our communities have been directly impacted today."

Covelli said all area residents are asked to stay inside and to report any suspicious activity to 9-1-1.

CORRECTION: Earlier Tuesday we reported that one of the suspects was in custody. That was not verified. This article has been updated to reflect that.