Three suspects in the shooting death of the officer were apprehended and determined to have "rock solid alibis."
Illinois police officer Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, 52, was found shot and killed on September 1 in the Chicago suburb of Fox Lake, after radioing in that he was chasing three suspects. The officer’s shooting led to a widespread manhunt for the three suspects, who have now been found. Authorities determined that all three suspects had “rock solid alibis,” according to Lake County officials, who have now declared the Gliniewicz’s death to be a “carefully staged suicide.”
The investigation has found that Gliniewicz, known as G.I. Joe, had been committing criminal acts such as money laundering and stealing from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post over the past seven years. He used thousands of dollars for personal purchases, and was also found to have forged signatures on official documents.
Speculation as to the cause of death began after the county coroner was unable to rule out suicide. Gliniewicz died as a result of a shot to the upper chest, which caused internal bleeding and collapsed his lungs.
According to authorities, Gliniewicz left a deliberately staged trail at the crime scene in order to mislead responders into believing that it was a homicide scene. Part of the his job had been staging mock crime scenes, an activity he had considerable experience with. Cmdr. George Filenko said that the staged trail involved police equipment, including a baton, pepper spray, and Gliniewicz’s glasses, which the investigation has determined were deliberately left at the scene.
Gliniewicz’s criminal activity was found after authorities analyzed his financial records and text messages. They reviewed thousands of deleted text messages which contained incriminating comments. Filenko said that the officer’s actions would have been discovered eventually, even if he had not committed suicide.
After 30 years as a police officer, Gliniewicz was nearing retirement. However, he had begun to feel pressure under new management for the past six months. The Village of Fox Lake had begun auditing its assets, which would likely have led to the discovery of his crimes. The Fox Lake Police Explorer Post works with young people who are interested in law enforcement careers.