The investigation into the shooting death of a cop in Fox Lake, Illinois, has uncovered some answers, but not enough to say for sure what happened that fateful date last month.
The body of Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, 52, was found in a marshy area on September 1. He had been shot twice.
Major Crime Task Force Commander George Filenko said he was shot twice, the first one with the force of a “sledgehammer hitting you in the side,” NBC News reported; the second shot killed him. He was hit once in the right side front of his vest and once in the upper left chest area.
The Fox Lake shooting is being treated as a homicide, but the officer’s cause of death has not yet been determined. The motive is still a mystery.
Evidence also indicated that Gliniewicz was shot with own service weapon. CBS Local reported the testing discovered gunshot residue on his hands, but that piece of evidence only takes them so far.
“In layman’s terms the weapon could have been fired by Lt. Gliniewicz, or he could have been in close proximity to the weapon being fired.”
Authorities are waiting for more ballistics testing results for information about the bullet and whether it harbors any fibers.
The final piece of evidence into the Fox Lake shooting revealed Thursday hinted that the cop was involved in a struggle before he was shot and that other individuals were present at the site. Investigators wouldn’t say what at the scene led them to believe a struggle occurred or whether more shots were fired, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Previously, investigators had indicated that the lieutenant’s .40-caliber service weapon was lying near his body when he was found; they also said multiple gunshots had been fired.
But they did say that GPS data indicates Gliniewicz was on foot near the crime scene in Fox Lake 20 minutes before he radioed a report of suspicious activity. In that report, he indicated that he was following three men — two white and one black.
He’d previously assured village officials that he would check out any reports of vandalism in the area.
Nine unknown DNA samples have also been retrieved from the scene of the shooting; testing has revealed that one belongs to a male. However, there is no way to know whether that DNA was deposited there the day of the shooting or at another time.
Investigators will keep collecting DNA; they expect to submit up to 40 more samples by Friday, Filenko said. According to CBS News, police have taken 100 DNA swabs from everyone they’ve interviewed in connection with the case, who had contact with the officer, or were near the crime scene in Fox Lake the day of the shooting, fellow police included.
“DNA is always significant. Until we identify it, we can’t eliminate any possibility.”
Police no longer believe that the unknown suspects remained in Fox Lake after the shooting. Though authorities set up a perimeter, the suspects likely fled the area via a major roadway nearby within only a few minutes.
Filenko said he chose to share this evidence with the public in the interest of transparency because he’d “heard the word conspiracy quite often.” Some people have suggested that Gliniewicz took his own life that day, and authorities say the evidence hasn’t taken any possibility off the table.
The officer’s family has refused to believe that suicide was his cause of death. His widow told Chicago TV show Crime Watch Daily that those accusations were “disrespectful, hurtful, irresponsible,” NBC News added.
Gliniewicz “never once had a single suicidal thought,” according to his son, D.J.
[Photo Courtesy Scott Olson / Getty Images]