Report: Illinois Police Investigating if Officer Thought to Be Killed Actually Committed Suicide

Joe Gliniewicz
Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for slain Fox Lake police Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz in Fox Lake, Illinois, September 2. Jim Young/Reuters

Updated | Illinois authorities are investigating whether a Fox Lake police lieutenant believed to have been murdered actually committed suicide and made it look like someone killed him, according to a report by Fox News.

Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz radioed fellow officers to tell them he was on a foot pursuit, identifying two white males and one black male as suspects on the morning of September 1. Contact was then lost with Gliniewicz, and when backup arrived, the officers found him dead from a gunshot wound.  

A manhunt was launched to find Gliniewicz’s killers. It included more than 100 investigators, countless law enforcement agencies, helicopters and dogs. Authorities retrieved surveillance footage surrounding the scene in the days following Gliniewicz’s death.

Two sources with knowledge of the investigation told Fox News it’s possible Gliniewicz shot himself. According to these sources, Gliniewicz was found facedown with his hand “in a gun position” and the gun “dropped at his body.”

Two shell casings were found at the scene: One hit his bulletproof vest, but the second struck under the vest near the heart. It was fired in a downward trajectory, Fox reported. “There was no sign of a struggle or defensive wounds—especially one to save his own life.”

The investigation is still being handled as a homicide, and DNA has reportedly been found at the scene. However, no suspects have been named in the case, nor have any sketches of the wanted men been released. 

"Based on all the facts, leads and evidence we have (this includes items we’ve discussed with the media and items we haven’t been able to discuss, to keep the integrity of the investigation), this is being pursued as a homicide investigation. This is a very active, complex investigation. Nothing has been ruled out, as it wouldn’t be prudent if we eliminated any factors prior to conducting a thorough investigation. At this point, we are still actively seeking three suspects, which were originally described as two white males and one black male. We are still waiting on several analysis reports to return from the labs (this includes ballistic, DNA and gunshot residue exams)," Christopher Covelli, the public information officer of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, tells Newsweek in an emailed comment. 

This story has been updated to include a comment from the Lake County Sheriff's Department. 

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