Fox Lake manhunt ends, investigation continues after officer killed

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Thursday, September 3, 2015
Investigation continues in Fox Lake
The operation has been scaled down but investigation continues in Fox Lake for three suspects in the fatal shooting of Lt. Joe Gliniewicz.

FOX LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- There is intense police activity in Volo, south of Fox Lake, late Wednesday night. Police have not said if that activity is connected to the fatal shooting Tuesday of a Fox Lake police officer.

Authorities ended the all-out manhunt for three suspects in far north suburban Fox Lake, but continue to investigate the fatal shooting of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.

Investigators said they have scaled back the all-out search, but continue to follow all leads in the search for three suspects - described as two white men and one black man - who police said should be considered armed and dangerous.

PHOTOS: Fox Lake manhunt after officer killed

Agents spent hours Wednesday afternoon at a home not far for the shooting scene for reasons that are unclear. Police have not commented on their work at the home.

"Police in and out, police watching, talking to the neighbors," described Hazel Flores. "They came out a little while ago with a bag. I don't know what they had in it."

The investigation is now focused on tips, with police fielding calls and scouring social media and a limited number of surveillance videos.

A 14-hour manhunt began Tuesday morning after Gliniewicz was fatally shot while responding to three suspicious people near Route 12 and Sayton Road in Fox Lake.

"If you're driving down a roadway that has nothing but open fields, possibly abandoned businesses, and you see individuals that have no reason for being there, it would be fundamental police procedure to stop them and at least question why they're there," said Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Chief George Filenko.

Events unfolded quickly according to investigators' timeline, spanning just 17 minutes. Lt. Gliniewicz reported the suspicious men at 7:52 a.m. and when backup officers arrived three minutes later they could not find their fellow officer. At 8:09 a.m. they found him unresponsive in a wooded and weeded area not far from his patrol car.

Lt. Gliniewicz's call said only that two of the suspicious men were white and one was black.

"That was the original radio traffic given by the officer when called in the suspicious person, and that was the only description provided," Chief Filenko said. "The scene where the lieutenant's body was found is an abandoned concrete factory. Despite the fact that it took only three minutes for back up to arrive, as you can see there are lots of place to hide and easy escape to be had."

That is why Tuesday's manhunt focused so heavily on a two square mile area, where officers searched by land, air and water, and dogs tried to sniff out leads.

Chief Filenko said investigators are canvassing the area Wednesday as they search for surveillance video from homes and businesses near the crime scene. The police presence is downsized from 400 officers to 100, mainly investigators chasing leads and reviewing surveillance video from nearby businesses.

"We don't have anything that we have found on that video yet, but we are still in the early stages of reviewing that," Filenko said.

Evidence technicians collected evidence from the crime scene that has been turned over to the Northern Illinois Crime Lab, Filenko said. Results are not expected until at least Thursday. An autopsy was conducted on Gliniewicz Tuesday night.

The original two-mile search perimeter was released around 10 p.m. Tuesday. Authorities began "saturation patrols" of the area Wednesday as they try to reassure the community.

"That's for two reasons. Number one, that's to continue to check for suspicious activity and to check for the offenders. Number two, we want the Fox Lake community to know they are safe and know we are out there. We're going to continue to be out there," said Det. Chris Covelli, Lake County Sheriff's Dept.

But residents of the tight-knit community remain on edge, worrying they're no longer safe in their homes.

"Yesterday I left twice. I was listening to the police scanner and every time they got near my vicinity I freaked out and left," said Tara England, a Fox Lake resident.

Due to community concerns, Fox Lake area schools were closed on Wednesday, Sept. 2, but officials said classes would resume on Thursday, Sept. 3. There will be an increased security presence at Fox Lake area schools for community peace of mind.

Village officials said the decision was in the best interests of the students, community and law enforcement. Increased security will be provided at area schools that do have class on Wednesday. Parents and village officials are meeting Wednesday afternoon to determine whether schools will be open Thursday.

Kimberly Young was at home all morning with her two children, but after a while they needed to stretch their legs.

"We're still anxious that we really want who did this to be caught, but I don't think they're in the community, so I think we're gonna go back to normal," Young said.

A memorial for Lt. Gliniewicz continues to grow outside the Fox Lake police station. He was the first on-duty officer shot and killed in Lake County since 1980.

Scott Shalek, who says Lt. Gliniewicz was a positive influence beginning when Shalek first joined the Fox Lake Police Department, has put up $5,000 of his own money to start a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the three suspects.

"It's important to catch these criminals," Shalek said. "It's a great loss of a great member of the community."

Shalek's reward is being offered through Citizens Offering Police Support - Fox Lake. Anyone wishing to add to the reward can go to any branch of State Bank of Lakes and contribute.