New revelations in the shooting death of Fox Lake, Illinois police officer Lt. Joe Gliniewicz. CNN’s Pamela Brown reports.
Police have released very little about the Tuesday, September 1st shooting death of Lt. Joe Gliniewicz. Initially, police would not say whether a gun was found. Then they said the slain police officer’s gun was found, but wouldn’t say where the gun was found. Next, they said the police officer’s gun was found at the scene. A little over a week after the shooting, police have not released whether Gliniewicz was killed by his own gun.
Today, police have not ruled out that the gun was fired by one of the three suspects, and police have not said whether Gliniewicz was killed by his own gun. The Lake County IL Sheriff’s Office did report that they have confirmed that evidence located at the crime scene supports investigation that more than one shot was fired at the scene. The sheriff’s office says at this time they are not able to comment on the exact number of shots fired, as it is confidential information critical to the investigation.
The sheriff’s office pointed out today that Lake County Coroner, Doctor Thomas Rudd, spoke with the media regarding the investigation into the death of Lieutenant Gliniewicz. Doctor Rudd released information concerning this investigation, which has not been released or confirmed by law enforcement engaged in this case.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Commander George Filenko said, “We have not been contacted by or had communication with Doctor Rudd.” He went on to say, “Doctor Rudd, releasing information which is sensitive to this investigation, puts the entire case at risk. All of the progress made since this tragic incident is potentially in jeopardy. This is an active investigation and it’s inappropriate for anyone other than the investigating body to release information to the media, prior to providing a final written report of the findings, or even having a conversation with the Task Force.”
Undersheriff Raymond Rose said, “Doctor Rudd’s actions are completely outside of policy, procedure, protocols, and are completely unprofessional. The Coroner should not release sensitive case information while an investigation is still underway, it’s completely irresponsible.” Undersheriff Rose added, “It is outrageous Doctor Rudd would speculate as to Lieutenant Gliniewicz’ fighting abilities with absolutely no foundation or basis as to what took place at the crime scene.”
The apparent lack of progress on the case — or lack of public’s awareness of progress — has some people expressing their skepticism about the presumption of a simple foot pursuit that went wrong.
An initial Officer Safety Alert from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on the Illinois State Police Emergency Radio Network notified area police officers at about 8:18 a.m. Tuesday that a male/white and a male/black fled from the scene and took the officer’s sidearm and pepper spray after shots were fired. That was about 26 minutes after Gliniewicz first notified dispatch he was checking on suspicious subjects near 128 Honing Road at 7:52 a.m.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Commander George Filenko later replied that media better check their sources, when he was asked at a press conference about the officer’s weapon being taken from the scene. He added that in the initial chaos at the scene it would be possible that initial backup officers arriving at the scene would not notice the weapon on the ground at the scene. Police today are saying the gun was found near his body.
Also, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd was quoted in the Chicago Tribune saying, “Right now, all unnatural deaths are up for suggestion. That means homicide, suicide, accident, undetermined.”
Perhaps led on by the coroner’s statement that suicide is not ruled out, some skeptics have accused investigators of a cover up or stalling, and are giving credence to a suicide theory or a more sinister planned execution — given the lack of any positive hits of suspects with surveillance video and lack of any result from a massive manhunt all day Tuesday.
If the gun was fired at extremely close range, speculators argue that the gun was either fired by someone Gliniewicz trusted to get up close, or he was outgunned by the offenders (allowing at least one gunman to approach with close contact), or the gun was fired during a struggle, or the shot was suicidal. If the shot was ruled a suicidal act, that would point to Gliniewicz possibly staging a hoax ambush — based on the radio traffic and other shots fired at the crime scene. CNN’s Forensic Expert stated it was highly unusual for a fatal shot to occur with a victim wearing a bullet proof vest, unless the shot was fired in a close-in shot — practically in a contact mode. Some skeptics note the unlikelihood that a veteran police officer would go without backup into a desolate area with a history of drug deals, illegal animal hunting, and a history of unidentified squatters in the proximity — especially with the current national experience of violence against police. Initially, when the police dispatcher over the radio asks Gliniewicz if he wants another unit, he calmly replies, “Negative, not at this time.”
Another complexity to the investigation is a recent internal investigation involving the Fox Lake Police Department which resulted in the police chief being placed on leave of absence. The leave followed by the announcement of the retirement of former Chief Michael Behan occurred after an internal investigation into the methods of a Fox Lake police arrest in December 2014. That has raised some eyebrows. According to a Chicago Tribune article, a statement from the Village of Fox Lake said a “clean slate” review is “standard and considered a best practice whenever there is a change in leadership at a law enforcement agency.” Also according to the statement, the village “immediately made available to the Lake County Major Crimes Task Force all the materials based on this review and other pertinent information in order to assist investigators.” Gliniewicz was also coincidentally considering retirement. Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said that Gliniewicz had discussed the prospect of retiring at the end of the year, but had also considered moving up retirement to the end of September.
When asked Tuesday, September 7, 2015 whether police were exploring any possible connection between Gliniewicz’s death and the internal investigation stemming from the December incident, Filenko said, “We haven’t ruled out anything.”
See also …
Chicago Tribune Fox Lake officer’s fatal wound was to his torso: coroner
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