K-9 tracks gunshot residue a quarter-mile from Gliniewicz shooting scene
In the hours after Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was killed three weeks ago, a K-9 unit trained specifically to track gunshot residue followed a scent for more than a quarter-mile away from the veteran officer's gun, authorities say.
While the dog's tracking lends credence to the belief Gliniewicz was the victim of a homicide, it doesn't prove it, said George Filenko, commander of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force.
Detectives have not ruled out any other scenarios, but they continue to investigate Gliniewicz's death as a homicide, he said.
According to Filenko, the K-9 picked up the scent seemingly from Gliniewicz's .40-caliber weapon and followed it to the southeast before the dog's handler had to stop due to fatigue and dehydration.
After the handler stopped, Filenko said, the K-9 lost the scent.
"The dog tracked a scent of gunshot residue from where the weapon was recovered to the southeast for about 1,700 feet," Filenko said. "Unfortunately, the handler had to be (evacuated) out. Due to conditions, we had a number of people who had to be (evacuated)."
Gliniewicz, 52, was found fatally shot shortly after 8 a.m. Sept. 1, on the east end of Honing Road in Fox Lake. The 30-year police veteran had radioed a dispatcher a short time earlier that he saw three men -- two white and one black -- acting suspiciously. He radioed again a few minutes later stating he was in a foot chase and needed backup.
While the K-9 used later that day specifically started tracking residue from near Gliniewicz's gun, it is not able to track residue from any specific weapon, Filenko said. He added that it's unknown how long the residue trail was in the area.
"That depends on the conditions and the weather," he said.
Lake County sheriff's detective Chris Covelli said at a news conference Monday that gunshot residue and ballistics tests do not support or exclude any specific theory in the investigation.
While authorities say most of the findings from the gunshot residue test have to stay confidential to protect the investigation, they did confirm there was more than one shot fired at the scene.
Covelli said the task force collected DNA from the scene to be run against samples from known offenders in a national database. Authorities have not yet found the source of the DNA.
The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force also has collected DNA samples from nearly 80 members of the public since the investigation began and is comparing those samples with what was found at the scene, Covelli said.
"What I can tell you is there was unknown (source of) DNA located at several locations at the scene, more than just one," he said.
Investigators also have met with Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd to discuss the case. Investigators sharply criticized Rudd earlier this month after he released details of the investigation.
"Moving forward ... we will be working hand in hand with the coroner's office, in this investigation and in future investigations," Covelli said Tuesday.
Filenko previously confirmed Gliniewicz's .40-caliber handgun was recovered at the scene but has refused to comment on any evidence recovered with the weapon. He has declined to say whether Gliniewicz was killed with his own gun and where in the body he was hit. He also has refused to discuss details about whether other fingerprints or DNA were recovered from the weapon.