Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz remembered

ANTIOCH, Ill. (WLS) -- Thousands said goodbye Monday to Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, a 30-year veteran who was shot last week in the line of duty.

An 18-mile funeral procession Monday afternoon brought the fallen officer from Antioch Community High School to Hillside East Cemetery in Antioch.

A steady stream of mourners passed the open casket at Antioch Community High School in the morning before a memorial service. Scores of police officers from throughout the Chicago area and the country were there, as well as local residents -- people who knew him growing and others who never met him -- who felt the need to be part of the community mourning.

"This is a classic American small town," said Ed Abderholden, of Chicago. "I don't live here anymore, but we come back for things like this."

The eulogy included reflections on Gliniewicz's devotion to family, friends and the police community. Amidst the pain, people also gave reminders of the Gliniewicz's humor and his love of coffee. Always be vertical and caffeinated, he'd always say.

PHOTOS: Memorial services held for Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

Gliniewicz, known in the tight-knit far northwest suburban community as GI Joe, was gunned down last week after he radioed that he was in foot pursuit of three suspicious men. The men wanted in his shooting are at-large. Officials have scheduled a press conference at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the ongoing investigation.

"Joe was a great husband, awesome dad, mentor to the police officers of tomorrow and a friend to many including me," said Nick Garcia, of the Antioch Police Department. "I'll miss him."

"Joe was a father," said Mike Behan, a past Fox Lake police chief. "Joe broke the mold. He was a dad to a thousand others."

"He was a man that in the face of danger would run towards it while others would run away," said Rachel Smithburg, a Joliet police officer. Gliniewicz's oldest son DJ stood next to Smithburg as she spoke during the memorial service, but he did not.

However, Lt. Mike Gliniewicz, the slain officer's brother and a firefighter, did. He said: "We are Gliniewicz strong. I love you brother. You'll always be part of my life."

A 17-mile procession left the high school at 3:30 p.m. heading toward Hillside East Cemetery, where Gliniewicz will be laid to rest. People gathered along the procession route, carrying flags and signs, for hours to say their goodbye.

For some, words inscribed on an underpass near the site where Gliniewicz lost his life say it best. "We love you - bless our heroes," it reads in chalk. Antioch firefighters hoisted a huge American flag at Antioch Community High School, where Gliniewicz graduated. A memorial outside the Fox Lake police department has been growing for the last week with balloons and flowers.

"The community support throughout these very last trying days has just been amazing, unbelievable," said Det. Chris Covelli, of the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

Gliniewicz was seen as a mentor in the Fox Lake Police Department and was planning his retirement soon. He is survived by four sons and his wife.

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