Gliniewicz killed with own gun after struggle, authorities say
Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was killed by the second of two gunshots fired from his own .40-caliber weapon, the head of the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force said during a news conference Thursday.
Cmdr. George Filenko also said there were signs of a struggle near where Gliniewicz was found shot in a marshy area more than 50 yards from where his police vehicle was parked near Honing Road in Fox Lake one month ago.
But gunshot residue tests performed were inconclusive, said Filenko, who explained the tests do no specifically show whether Gliniewicz was shot by someone near him or whether he pulled the trigger of the gun himself.
"What it means, in layman's terms, is the weapon could have been fired by Lieutenant Gliniewicz, or he could have been in close proximity to the weapon being fired," Filenko said. "It's inconclusive. There's a possibility his hands were on the weapon when it was fired, or he was in close proximity to the weapon when it was fired."
Filenko said during the news conference in front of the Fox Lake police department that police believe Gliniewicz was hit by the first bullet in the lower right side of his bulletproof vest. The impact was "like a sledgehammer," Filenko said, and officials believe the shot likely incapacitated the veteran officer.
The second shot hit Gliniewicz in the upper right chest and caused his death, Filenko said. He would not say whether the fatal shot went through or over the vest, or specifically how many shots were fired from the weapon.
Filenko also did not specifically identify the signs of struggle in the marsh area, or how far away the gun was from Gliniewicz when the weapon was found by police.
After the news conference, Filenko said Gliniewicz's glasses were recovered intact at the scene, but he wouldn't say if they were recovered on his body or on the ground.
Gliniewicz was out of his car and on foot patrol around the area for 20 minutes before using his hand-held device to radio in to a dispatcher that he saw the three suspicious suspects, Filenko clarified Thursday.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Herald Wednesday, Filenko said Gliniewicz took it upon himself to routinely check out the property where the shooting took place because of reports of vandalism and transients in the area. Filenko said the village had recently purchased the property and Gliniewicz was part of a meeting with village officials where those concerns were raised.
"We believe he parked in the area 20 minutes before radioing in and went out on foot patrol," Filenko said.
Tracking footprints across the marshy area was impossible due to the conditions, Filenko said. He compared the area to quicksand where footprints would immediately be filled in.
Gliniewicz, 52, radioed a dispatcher that he saw three men -- two white and one black -- acting suspiciously at 7:52 a.m. Sept. 1, authorities said. He called back three minutes later and said the men ran into a swampy area and that he was in a foot chase and needed backup.
Officers found Gliniewicz shot 14 minutes later, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at 8:25 a.m.
Filenko said he did not have a motive explaining why someone would kill Gliniewicz.
Lake County sheriff's spokesman Chris Covelli and Filenko reiterated during and after the news conference that police continue to investigate the shooting as a homicide.
"We continue to investigate the death of Lieutenant Gliniewicz as a homicide based on facts and evidence of the case," Covelli said. "However, nothing has been eliminated or is off the table."