Fox Lake feels 'a little less safe, but mostly sad' after cop killed
'A little less safe, but mostly sad' after slaying of 'G.I. Joe'
Many Fox Lake residents have never felt a need to lock their doors, until now.
As the manhunt continues for the three armed and dangerous suspects who fatally shot beloved Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, residents say they're now keeping their doors locked, their flood lights on and their eyes open as the village stays on heightened alert and emotions cycle from fear to anger to grief.
"I wouldn't say everyone is scared ... but there's a nervous energy that's kind of shaken up this community," said resident Shannon McAndrews. "It feels a little less safe, but mostly sad. You can feel that things are different. There's grief and anger because we want justice for his family."
Days after backup officers found Gliniewicz mortally wounded near an old concrete plant Tuesday morning, residents pondered a comment by Lake County Major Crime Task Force commander George Filenko that the killers might be from the area because the crime scene was away from main roads and wouldn't be frequented by people passing through.
They wondered whether fear and a heavy police presence would cut into holiday visitors to the Chain O' Lakes boating mecca.
"People are concerned about those individuals. And the few customers I get in here, that's all they talk about," Marciano Martinez, co-owner of the popular Dockers restaurant, said last week.
In town, some people are feeling less panicked than they were on Tuesday. When Sue Tunberg heard about the shooting that morning, she immediately locked her car and house doors and then monitored the news. She called her parents, who live nearby, instructing them to stay inside and not even go into the garage. Living near train tracks and a forested area, she insisted her daughter watch her from the front door as she took the dog out Tuesday night.
But as the week went on, people started to venture outside and let their guard down a bit. Even though they say Fox Lake is full of hiding places for the killers -- like covered boats and forested nooks -- some speculate the killers left the area.
Gliniewicz, in a radio call before he left his car and set out after them on foot, said only that he was checking out two white men and a black man.
There's a big police and media presence as the search continues. Handmade signs that paid tribute to the man nicknamed "G.I. Joe" are posted around town and "RIP" messages are on many business marquees, even places like Burger King.
A massive police procession will wind through town and around its namesake lake during services Monday for Gliniewicz, a married father of four.
Like many residents, Juleen Edwards felt comfortable enough to take her kids outside for a walk one afternoon last week, but she felt uneasy knowing the killers were still at large.
"You don't know if they're going to jump out," she said. "We're locking our doors now."
Charles J. Lever III, a 65-year resident of Fox Lake, put his two American flags at half-staff in his friend's memory. While people are being extra vigilant, he doesn't think the town is going to change as a result of what happened, and he doesn't plan to live in fear.
"I hope (the suspects) come to my house so I can give them the same thing they gave Joe," he said.
Most of all, residents say their hearts are broken that such a nice, happy-go-lucky family man was killed so violently. They already miss seeing Gliniewicz drive by in his big-wheeled truck, and friends have been sharing photos and videos of him on Facebook, remembering his warm smile and fun personality. They said he was a role model for young people in the community, even helping teenagers who were doing drugs turn their lives around.
"The whole community is going to pull together for his family," Tunberg said. "We have our share of issues (in Fox Lake), but it's the kind of place where, if you need a hand, people are there for you."