FOX LAKE – More than a hundred police officers scoured terrain only miles from the site of another manhunt that occurred less than a year before, but Tuesday’s frantic search was done with the knowledge that this time they were searching for a cop killer.
Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz – known as G.I. Joe to friends and the Fox Lake community and set to retire at the end of September, the village’s mayor said – was killed Tuesday morning after he told dispatchers he was going to investigate three suspicious men, Lake County Detective Chris Covelli said.
The officer’s last call to dispatchers before contact was lost was that he was involved in a foot chase in the area of Sayton Road and Route 12, Covelli said. The first officers who responded to the scene found Gliniewicz injured with a gunshot wound.
The search for the three men – described only as two white men and one black man – continued well into Tuesday night.
Gliniewicz is the 83rd police officer to die on duty in the U.S. this year, the 24th to be shot nonaccidentally, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. Last year, 47 officers were fatally shot.
His death follows the shootings of Deputy Darren H. Goforth, who was pumping gas into his patrol car at a commercial gas station in Texas; police officer Henry Nelson, who was responding to a domestic disturbance in Louisiana; and Louisiana Senior Trooper Steven Vincent, who was checking on a vehicle that had been reported as driving recklessly, all of which happened in the past nine days.
The rash of killings brought some out to the streets to show their support. A group of supporters who lined Route 12 near a police staging area held signs such as “Police Lives Matter.”
An emotional mayor, Donny Schmit, addressed the media Tuesday, speaking about the loss of his friend, describing him as a decorated officer and a father of four boys who was dedicated to the community.
This past October, two McHenry County deputies, Dwight Maness and Khalia Satkiewicz, were shot and wounded when they responded to a well-being check at a Holiday Hills home. Scott Peters was sentenced in June to 135 years in prison for those shootings.
“The McHenry County Sheriff’s Office responded to the request [Tuesday] by the Fox Lake Police Department with manpower and armored equipment,” Sheriff Bill Prim said in a statement. “This is what the law enforcement family does. We responded to their request without hesitation, just like so many aided us 11 months ago.”
The search involved numerous air and K-9 units, as well as dozens of police officers from across northern Illinois and from state agencies, Covelli said. The search area encompassed Fox Lake and some unincorporated areas.
Area schools, including those in Grant Community High School District 124, McHenry Elementary School District 15, Prairie Grove School District 46 and Woodstock School District 200, were placed on lockdown, and police were on-site at some schools during parent pickup.
After deliberations with law enforcement, schools in local districts, including Fox Lake Grade School District 114, Grant Community High School, Gavin School District 37 and Big Hollow School District 38, will be closed Wednesday, according to notices on district websites.
Metra train service to Fox Lake on the Milwaukee North line was stopped for much of the day, resuming around 7 p.m., although the Ingleside station remained closed after that. The Federal Aviation Administration declared a 2-mile no-fly zone over Fox Lake up to 3,000 feet to clear the area for police helicopters.
Area residents were urged to stay indoors and to report suspicious activity.
“No tip is too small,” Covelli said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
Some residents were turned away from their homes as police swarmed the area near Sayton Road.
Mary Schoiber tried to return to her Fox Lake home in the Fox Ridge subdivision, a short distance from the scene, but police told her she could not go inside because there was “a situation.” Schoiber, standing outside the Fox Lake McDonald’s more than eight hours after the manhunt began, said police told her there was a suspect with a weapon in the nearby marsh.
“I left before 8 [a.m.],” Schoiber said. “I didn’t see anything, though. I just heard the sirens.”
A candlelight vigil is tentatively planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Lakefront Park, 71 Nippersink Blvd. in Fox Lake.