The shooting death of an Illinois police officer sparked a massive manhunt throughout the region as law enforcement authorities attempted to find the person responsible for gunning down a fellow cop. An absolute lack of evidence pointing to the murderer has led authorities to question whether a murder took place at all or if Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz committed suicide.
Photo: Fox Lake Police Department
Gliniewicz, 52, had served on the force for 30 years at the time of his death on September 1. That day, Gliniewicz alerted other officers that he was engaged in an on-foot pursuit of three suspects (two white males, one black male) in a remote area near Fox Lake, Illinois, but his radio communication cut off before he could provide a thorough description of the men. He was found by backup minutes later with a “single, devastating” gunshot wound torso that killed him almost instantaneously.
Both local and federal law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, ATF, and Homeland Security, placed an all-points bulletin on the unidentified three suspects, alerting local residents to stay vigilant for any sign of their location. According to Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko, nearby surveillance cameras eventually turned up footage of three men who fit the description Gliniewicz gave, but an arrest has yet to be made.
While the police continues to treat Gliniewicz’s death as a homicide, sources close to the matter have alleged that the veteran officer killed himself. Gliniewicz had been hit twice: one bullet was stopped by his bulletproof vest, while the other seems to have been fired above and behind his vest, aimed at his heart. No evidence suggests that Gliniewicz struggled with an assailant prior to his death.
The deceased officer was found face down with his gun “dropped at his body,” hand still clenched as if it were firing a gun. Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd made a statement to Fox News confirming that he has yet to make a final decision as to the cause of Gliniewicz’s death but he has not ruled out the possibility of suicide.