More than 100 police officers using aircraft and dogs searched northern Illinois on Tuesday night for three suspects believed to be involved in the fatal shooting of a 30-year veteran police officer, officials said.
Fox Lake Police Lieutenant Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was found wounded on Tuesday morning after reporting that he was pursuing three suspects on foot, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said. He died later.
Officials described the three suspects as two white males and one black male. None was in custody as of Tuesday evening, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Christopher Covelli said.
The shooting came days after a county deputy sheriff in Texas was killed in a hail of gunfire while refueling a patrol car at a gas station. A suspect in the Texas shooting on Friday was captured and has been charged with capital murder.
Gliniewicz, a father of four boys and a decorated officer, was known around the village as “G.I. Joe” and dedicated to Fox Lake and his fellow officers, Mayor Donny Schmit told a news conference.
“Today, not only did Fox Lake lose a family member, I lost a very dear friend,” Schmit said.
Gliniewicz, who retired as a first sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, earned several awards and commendations in the police department, including a medal of valor, Fox Lake spokesman David Bayless said. He had been involved in a youth law enforcement training program for about a decade.
On Tuesday evening, a group of officers formed a line and disappeared into dense trees and brush in a search for the suspects as bystanders watched across a busy road.
“I’ve lived here for 30 years and never had to lock my door until now,” said Dan Christensen, 64, as a police helicopter circled above a nearby wooded area.
Donna Hrycenko, 33, whose two children met Gliniewicz through a school program, was one of more than a dozen people holding signs that said “police lives matter” along a main thoroughfare in Fox Lake.
“He was the nicest man you could have ever met in your life,” Hrycenko said.
Covelli said residents should remain indoors and report suspicious activity.
Officials ordered commuter trains halted, roads blocked and schools locked down as they conducted a widespread search in a wooded area about 40 miles (65 km) north of Chicago, near the Wisconsin border.
Schools in Fox Lake will be closed on Wednesday and a vigil for the officer is planned for Wednesday evening.
Federal marshals, Illinois State Police and units from McHenry and Lake County Sheriff’s offices, many with drawn rifles, searched door-to-door during the day.
The Federal Aviation Administration established a no-fly zone over the search area.
SOURCE: Reuters, Brendan O’Brien