FOX LAKE – Police investigating the shooting death of Fox Lake police officer hope a video from a Fox Lake resident and information gleaned from evidence – including the officer's gun – will lead them closer to the suspects, they said Thursday.
As the search wore on into its third day, Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko said police had made substantial progress in the investigation into Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.
Filenko tied part of that progress to surveillance video a resident who lives near the crime scene provided to a trusted police officer. That officer turned it over to the task force, which is leading the search for two white males and one black male who are suspects in the shooting.
“We have retrieved as late as [Wednesday] night what we believe to be some significant video," Filenko announced.
Local police gave the video to the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security because the agency has the technology necessary to retrieve and view the video, Filenko said. Officials have not viewed it, but Filenko said based on what the resident conveyed about the video, police are still searching for three males that fit the vague description police have had since the investigation started Tuesday.
Police said Gliniewicz was patrolling Tuesday about 7:52 a.m. when he noticed three males conducting suspicious activity in the 100 block of Honing Road near a marshy area and a concrete plant. At 7:55 a.m. he called for backup, and officers arrived at 8:01 a.m. At 8:09 a.m. they found Gliniewicz unresponsive with a gunshot wound. He was about 50 yards from his vehicle, police have said.
Filenko confirmed for the first time police found Gliniewicz's gun, but refused to say whether it had been fired. He said it does not appear any of the officer's gear was missing, adding all of the evidence recovered from the scene has been turned over to the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory, Filenko said. He expected results from the lab would be available before the holiday weekend.
The area where the shooting occurred is known for vandalism and squatters, Filenko said. He couldn't say why Gliniewicz would have been in the area, but speculated it might have been part of a routine. He described the 30-year police veteran as extremely diligent.
“He may have identified a problem area within anywhere in this community, it seems he would be going periodically to see if there was any kind of recurring issues,” Filenko said.
Meanwhile, two detectives have been assigned to filter through the large influx of tips coming in from across the country, Filenko said. He admitted the cursory description of the only the suspects' genders and races has spurred the overwhelming number of tips.
“We wish we had more,” Filenko said. “And if we do have more of description we are going to put that out.”
Police have not ruled out that the suspects might have fled. But Filenko said investigators are working off the presumption the suspects are still in Fox Lake or surrounding communities because they might be familiar with the area or have places to stay.
The search and investigation will not stop until the suspects are found, police said. More than 100 officers are on the case, and more were arriving Thursday. Lake County Det. Chris Covelli countered sentiments that police have scaled back their investigation.
“Just because we don't see them in a specific area doesn't mean that they're not involved,” Covelli said. “We have a huge number of police officers in this area.”
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