Investigators announced Thursday that Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was killed by his own gun, but didn’t reveal who pulled the trigger. The announcement came a month after Gliniewicz’s death. It was further revealed that the officer’s last moments were preceded by a physical “struggle.”
Gliniewicz, who was discovered dead on September 1, had been pursuing “three suspicious suspects on foot.” While a massive manhunt for the killers followed his death, contradictory reports surfaced regarding how he was killed. Some said it was suicide, with others claiming it was accidental.
Gliniewicz was shot twice, and both bullets were fired from his service weapon, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Cmdr., George Filenko, said. The first bullet hit Gliniewicz squarely on his bulletproof vest, which had the force of a “sledgehammer” and had enough power to “incapacitate” him, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
“The second shot, which we believe was the fatal wound, occurred in the upper left chest region of Lt. Gliniewicz,” Filenko said.
Filenko further added that the case was being treated as a homicide. However, other possibilities have not been sidelined at this moment. “Nothing has been eliminated or is off the table,” Filenko said. “At this point, we have no motive.” The gunshot residue found on Gliniewicz’s hands cannot be directly related to the manner in which he died. “The weapon could have been fired by Lt. Gliniewicz or he could have been in close proximity of the weapon being fired,” Filenko said.
Despite rumors that he possibly took his own life, Gliniewicz’s wife, Melodie Gliniewicz, and son, D.J., believe the contrary, as reported by People Magazine.
Gliniewicz was part of a meeting for “several weeks” with an agenda to discuss and bring forth issues and concerns about the area where he was shot. Filenko further said that there were reports of squatting, vandalism and other “suspicious activity” in the area.
“Lt. Gliniewicz took it upon himself to investigate or took that as part of his responsibilities.”
Nine unidentified DNA samples were found and collected at the scene where Gliniewicz was found dead. These samples came from several articles of possession that the officer had with him. More than 100 samples from people who were in close proximity to him, including officers working at the scene, have been collected, Filenko said. The samples are also being matched against the national database. It couldn’t be determined whether the samples were from the day of the shooting or prior to it. When asked if the samples could be from someone walking their dog in the nearby area, Filenko said it was “not likely,” as reported by St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The investigation has brought forth “upwards of 400 leads.” Filenko said. It “continues to be an extraordinarily complex” with investigators working round the clock. Lake County Sheriff’s spokesman Detective, Christopher Covelli, said, “We’re working very hard to keep the community informed on the progress of our investigation.” He further said that any release of information needs to be verified and examined thoroughly so as to not “hinder justice in any way.”
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