FOX LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- A manhunt for three suspects continued into the night after a police officer was fatally shot in far north suburban Fox Lake Tuesday morning. Police say the suspects, described as two white males and one black male, should be considered armed and dangerous.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office said the search perimeter was released just after 10 p.m. after a 14 hour search coordinated between local, state and federal law enforcement. The scene has been turned over to the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, which will be the lead agency on the investigation.
Due to community concerns, the following Fox Lake area schools will be closed Wednesday, Sept. 2:
Grant Community High School District #124
Fox Lake Grade School District #114
Gavin School District #37
Gavin Central School
Gavin South School
Big Hollow School District #38
Saint Bede Catholic School
Village officials said the decision was in the best interests of the students, community and law enforcement.
The Lake County Sheriff's Dept. identified the slain officer as 52-year-old Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, a 32-year veteran of the force and married father of four sons in their teens and early 20s who was well-known and well-liked in the community. Lt. Gliniewicz went by his middle name, and was nicknamed "G.I. Joe."
Gliniewicz grew up in the Fox Lake area where he served as a peace officer, graduated from Antioch Community High School and obtained a Master's degree in criminal justice from Kaplan University. He was a leader of the Fox Lake Police Department Explorer Post, which helps mentor young people interested in careers in law enforcement, and an Army veteran who served in active duty and reserve from 1980 to 2007. He left the military with a rank of First Sergeant.
Gliniewicz had been married for 26 years and was to retire at the end of September. He met with Fox Lake's mayor Monday to talk about his retirement plans and ensure that the Explorers troop he led continued without him.
"Today Fox Lake didn't just lose a family member, I lost a very dear friend," Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said.
Lt. Gliniewicz was shot while responding to a call of three suspicious people near Route 12 and Sayton Rd around 7:52 a.m., police said. After communication was lost with the officer, his backup arrived on the scene to find him injured with a gunshot wound, Det. Covelli said. Officials later confirmed he died.
The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police released a statement about Lt. Gliniewicz's death, saying, "Today the Fraternal Order of Police lost a fellow member and brother who died heroically serving his community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the slain officer's family, friends and fellow police officers. He leaves a legacy of several decades of service to Fox Lake for which we are humbly grateful."
A memorial page has been set up on Facebook, and the Northeast Illinois Council, Boy Scouts of America will hold a vigil 6 p.m. Wednesday at Lakefront Park in Fox Lake.
Canine units were brought in from various jurisdictions, including McHenry County, for the search effort. FBI agents and U.S. Marshals are also assisting in the search. Authorities are unsure if the suspects are together or have split up.
The search has focused on Routes 12 and 59 with a loose perimeter. Officers have responded to various reports of sightings throughout the afternoon, but none have been confirmed.
The Northern Illinois Police Alarm System, or NIPAS, is coordinating the search. During the day police divided the area into quadrants and then conducted line searches. Subdivisions are searched door to door and police check for signs of possible break-ins. Cars are also searched from within a perimeter.
At night, a helicopter equipped with Forward Looking Infrared, or FLIR, which shows any heat source that's moving, is utilized. Police are also searching the extensive waterfront.
"At this time, we're asking all area residents to remain inside. Report any suspicious activity, any suspicious people, by dialing 911 as we still have three offenders at large," said Det. Chris Covelli, Lake County Sheriff's Dept.
SCHOOL CLOSED WEDNESDAY; COMMUNITY REACTS
Rollins Road is closed from Route 59 to Grand Avenue. Investigators also blocked off part of the frontage road leading to U.S. 12.
Metra said service on the Milwaukee District-North Line has resumed between Long Lake and Fox Lake. However, the Ingleside station remains closed until further notice. Riders are urged to listen to platform announcement for train locations.
Grant Community High School was put on hard lockdown shortly after the incident occurred. Superintendent Christy Sefcik said the school went on lockdown around 8:30 a.m.
School was supposed to let out at 3:10 p.m. but dismissal time was pushed back per police orders, with students being released one by one directly to their parents, a process which took more than an hour. Students said they spent the day in the dark away from windows, but were able to text their parents for updates.
Gavin School District and St. Bede School in Ingleside were also placed on soft lockdown.
Neighbors looking out their windows Tuesday night saw the SWAT team canvassing yards. The entire town is on edge, hoping the nightmare ends soon.
"I hope they catch them soon, because I'm a single mom of three and I'm scared," says Brenda Day.