Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz
Fox Lake Police Department, Illinois
End of Watch: Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Tour of Duty: 32 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: September 1, 2015
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: Not available
Agency Contact Information
Fox Lake Police Department
301 South Route 59
Fox Lake, IL 60020
Phone: (847) 587-3100
Lieutenant Charles Gliniewicz was shot and killed while investigating suspicious activity.
At approximately 8:00am, Lieutenant Gliniewicz radioed his dispatcher that he was stopping to investigate three suspicious males that he observed near Route 12 and Sayton Road in Fox Lake. Shortly thereafter, he radioed in a foot pursuit. When backup officers arrived, the found Lieutenant mortally wounded. They also discovered that items were missing from his duty belt, including his firearm.
The suspects fled and remain at large.
Lieutenant Gliniewicz had served with the Lake County Police Department for 32 years and is a U.S. Army veteran. He is survived by his wife and four children.
The Fox Lake police officer shot and killed while chasing three suspects Tuesday morning was a 30-year veteran of the force who went by the nickname "G.I. Joe" and was married with four children, according to police and family.
"He’s got four sons who are going to have to go on alone," said Terry Resetar, mother-in-law of the slain officer, Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, 52.
The veteran officer had also indicated he was planning to retire later this month, said Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit, a close friend.
Gliniewicz radioed shortly before 8 a.m. while on routine patrol that he was going to check on some suspicious activity, Lake County sheriff’s spokesman Chris Covelli said at a news conference.
He then radioed that he was in a "foot pursuit," but communication was lost after that, Covelli said. Other officers responded and found him shot near Route 12 and Sayton Road, he said.
Gliniewicz was discovered in a marshy area, stripped of his gun and other gear, according to Lake County Undersheriff Raymond Rose. He died at the scene, the undersheriff said.
Police established a perimeter and sent helicopters into the air as they sought three suspects, described only as a black male and two white males, Rose said. Several canine units also were dispatched, as well as SWAT teams in camouflage.
With the help of U.S. marshals, teams of police from throughout the county searched surrounding woods and businesses in the area.
Rose said a team of more than 100 officers will continue searching through the night. As evening fell, police had finished going house-to-house in Fox Lake seeking the suspects, Rose said. Around 5:45 p.m., 40 police dogs and their handlers were searching for the suspects while helicopters equipped with heat sensors continued to scan the area, he said.
Several hundred police from agencies as far away as Joliet came to Lake County to help with the manhunt, Rose said. That was important, he said, so police could be cycled in and out of the hunt. Several officers were momentarily overcome by temperatures that climbed into the high 80s, Rose said.
"Every major law enforcement agency you can think of" assisted on-site or remotely, Rose said, citing the ATF, FBI and Secret Service. He lamented the need for police to respond to the shooting of one of their own.
"We can’t keep going like this," he said. "We can’t keep doing this."
Rose asked that Fox Lake residents stay indoors if they can, and he said they should leave their lights on. They should not answer the door to a visitor if they don’t know who it is, he said, and residents across the general area should call police if they see anything unusual.
Earlier in the day, parents were asked to pick up their children at local schools. The controlled release of students resulted in gridlock on Old Grand Avenue in downtown Fox Lake as parents picked up students at the high school and nearby middle school.
Friends and colleagues remembered Gliniewicz as fun-loving and optimistic and dedicated to his work.
"This should never happen. Joey just loved his job," said Thomas Poulos, a retired Waukegan police officer who said he went to high school with Gliniewicz in Antioch. They both graduated in 1981, Poulos said.
They stayed in touch and saw each other at local events and reunions, Poulos said, and it was clear that Gliniewicz – known as Joe or Joey in high school – enjoyed his job. Gliniewicz helped with the Police Department’s Explorers program, which allows young adults to look into careers in policing.
"Loved his job, loved his kids, loved his wife, and he loved those Explorers," said Poulos, who now lives in California. "He was just a delight to be around. … Not a bad bone in his body."
Schmit, the Fox Lake mayor, called Gliniewicz "a very dear friend."
"We lost a family member," Schmit said at an afternoon news conference. "G.I. Joe was the father of four boys and a dedicated officer."
Rose said police across Lake County knew Gliniewicz for his affiliation with the Explorers program.
"He founded the Explorer program and ran it 30 years and wanted to be sure it would go on," Schmit said.
Rose said Gliniewicz had a "tremendous impact on a lot of young people in the county" through the Explorers program.
Schmit said that having to announce Gliniewicz’s death ""is something I hoped I’d never have to do."
"I’m just kind of numb right now," Schmit said.
The mayor said he received a text from Gliniewicz about 9:15 p.m. Monday.
"I didn’t respond because it was a little late and I thought I’d wait until the morning. I’m feeling a little guilty about that now," Schmit said.
Illinois Fraternal Order of Police President Chris Southwood released a statement: "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."
Joe Ahern, CEO of the 100 Club of Chicago, an organization that provides financial support to families of slain police officers, remained at the Fox Lake Police Department in late afternoon Tuesday, trying to arrange to meet the family.
"I was just coming here to help with some financial support for the family at the appropriate time," he said.
His organization offers $50,000 in immediate expenses to families of slain officers and helps their children through college.
Hours after the shooting, Nathan Muehlfelder learned that he had lost one of his regular customers at Good Family Tattoo in Lake Villa.
Muehlfelder guessed that he had done half of Gliniewicz’s body art, including tattoos of his police badges.
"He was a super nice guy. He was always loud when he was here, you could hear him a mile away," Muehlfelder said. "He always did things for the community, especially with the police Explorers. He was always a really happy guy. Never angry, always laughing.
"He was super strong for an older guy," he added. "He was ripped. He was doing what he liked to do."
Muehlfelder said it had been a few months since Gliniewicz came in for a new tattoo.
"He would also stop in just to say, ‘What’s up?’" Muehlfelder said.
Residents in the area reacted with shock as armed police patrolled their neighborhoods and helicopters thumped overhead.
Jill Heyn and Brad Pekarik live in Ingleside, minutes from where the shooting occurred. They heard helicopters all morning as the search intensified and saw officers walking around Gavin Middle School down the block.
"My neighbor came out hysterical," said Brad Pekarik, who has lived on Stanton Bay on Fox Lake for about 16 years. "It’s not a good thing. Everybody’s a little crazy these days."
Jill Heyn said it "feels like our paradise has been spoiled. It’s just one story after another. Blue lives matter."
Michael Drewer, 35, of Fox Lake, owner of the Dipstick Oil Change, surrounded by yellow police tape, said there were a half-dozen officers blocking off roads at Sayton and Route 12 when he arrived at work in the morning.
"Then a half-hour later, (the number of police) ballooned quite a bit," he said. "They checked our security video and then told me I wouldn’t be doing any business today."
Covelli said the suspects should be considered dangerous. Rose advised residents to call 911 "if they see anybody in their area … that doesn’t belong or doesn’t look right."
The search prompted officials at Grant Community High School to put the building on lockdown.
"Grant Community High School is currently in a lockdown at the request of the Fox Lake Police Department," read a statement posted at grantbulldogs.org. "A police matter is occurring in the community and for the safety of our students and staff they have requested we remain locked down."
Inbound and outbound service resumed on Metra’s Milwaukee District North Line in the afternoon after being shut down for hours because of the search, the agency said. The Ingleside station remained closed.