Lt. Gliniewicz's son: Dad 'never once had a single suicidal thought'

  • Fox Lake police officer Joe Gliniewicz was shot and killed Sept. 1 in the line of duty.

    Fox Lake police officer Joe Gliniewicz was shot and killed Sept. 1 in the line of duty. courtesy of Fox Lake police department

  • Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz

    Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz

Updated 9/16/2015 9:40 AM

The son of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz threw his full support behind Lake County investigators and their two-week effort to catch three suspects sought in the veteran police officer's shooting death, but he says emphatically that his dad didn't die at his own hand.

"My father never once had a single suicidal thought in his life," Donald "D.J." Gliniewicz said Tuesday.


The younger Gliniewicz said his family is upset over questions raised by Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd about whether "Joe" Gliniewicz died from anything other than a homicide, and the unauthorized release of information in the case.

"For someone who didn't know him to go out and question that, then also release information that could jeopardize the investigation ... my entire family isn't happy," he said.

D.J. Gliniewicz said he expects the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force to "take their time to do it right" while trying to determine who gunned down his 52-year-old father.

"I know they are doing their hardest to get to the bottom of this," D.J. Gliniewicz said. "I definitely do not want them to speed through the investigation and skip over important details."

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Investigators say they are waiting on forensic evidence under examination by three crime labs to help reveal critical answers.

Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said investigators are proceeding as if the case is a homicide, based on the 30-year police veteran's final statements before he was found shot to death Sept. 1 at the east end of Honing Road in Fox Lake.

Filenko said investigators will not discount other possible causes -- such as a self-inflicted or an accidental shooting -- until forensic science tests require him to do so.

"We are pursuing this as a homicide, but as is usual in every homicide investigation we have ever handled, nothing is completely off the table," he said. "We go where the facts lead us, and right now, there is too much information that hasn't been processed."

Filenko said he has had constant contact with local, state and federal crime labs about the information, but he stressed, "You can't rush science."


Details officials are waiting for include ballistic and gunshot residue tests from Gliniewicz's .40-caliber weapon recovered at the crime scene, and final tests on DNA found at the scene. That DNA did not come from Gliniewicz or others who cared for him shortly after he was found, authorities have said.

"Once we get some of that stuff back, we can start sorting things out," he said. "But we continue to pursue it as a homicide because of Gliniewicz's last call, and because of the DNA recovered at the scene."

As the son of a longtime police officer, "D.J." Gliniewicz said he understands solving a murder with few clues "is going to take time."

"With their determination, I'm sure they will get to the bottom of this," he said.

"Joe" Gliniewicz radioed dispatchers at 7:52 a.m. and said he was investigating two white men and a black man acting suspiciously near a gravel road leading to an abandoned cement plant. He radioed back three minutes later, saying the suspects had run into a swampy area near the plant, authorities said.

Dispatchers lost contact with Gliniewicz shortly after, and he was found 14 minutes later suffering from more than one gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:25 a.m.

The shooting sparked a massive police manhunt that lasted until about 10 p.m. that day. It featured more than 400 police officers, six aircraft and 48 K-9 units, authorities said.

Officials have released little information to the public regarding the shooting. Gliniewicz's gun was recovered at the scene, but Filenko would not say if it was the weapon used to shoot him. Investigators also have refused to release key details regarding where the bullets struck the veteran officer, how many were fired from the weapon, whether he was wearing a bulletproof vest, and whether any footprints were recovered that could show the way the suspects may have escaped.

Last week, Rudd said Gliniewicz died from a "devastating" gunshot wound but refused to say publicly how many times he was shot. He later said the fatal shot was to the torso, but he explained that he released the information to combat rumors the lieutenant was shot in the head and neck.

Other media reports quoting unnamed sources have said two bullets were fired at Gliniewicz, with one hitting the officer's bulletproof vest. They added the fatal bullet hit him in the upper torso and traveled in a downward motion.

A $50,000 reward remains in place for any information that leads to the arrest of those involved in the crime, officials said. Anyone wishing to submit a tip should call (800) CALL-FBI. Tips also can be submitted through the FBI website at

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