An Illinois police officer found dead last week after telling dispatchers he was pursuing three suspicious men suffered a “single devastating” gunshot wound, according to a coroner who said he can’t yet rule whether the death was a homicide, suicide or an accident.
CHICAGO — An Illinois police officer found dead last week after telling dispatchers he was pursuing three suspicious men suffered a “single devastating” gunshot wound, according to a coroner who said Wednesday that he can’t yet rule whether the death was a homicide, suicide or an accident.
Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Gliniewicz, a 30-year police veteran who was on the cusp of retiring, was found dead Sept. 1 in the village of Fox Lake, 55 miles northwest of Chicago. The shooting led to a massive manhunt in one of Illinois’ most popular recreational areas known as the Chain O’ Lakes. No arrests have been made, and authorities have disclosed few details about Gliniewicz’s death.
Federal authorities were said to be analyzing surveillance video taken from the area that included images of three men. Tuesday, law-enforcement officials said they had found the three men shown in the video and had ruled them out as suspects.
Police have declined to discuss autopsy findings, and Lake County Coroner Dr. Thomas Rudd did not say where on the body the 52-year-old officer was wounded. Rudd also did not say if the officer suffered any other wounds.
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He also said that whether the bullet came from Gliniewicz’s own gun or another gun is another part of his investigation that can’t be completed until he gets the report from the task force.
“As it stands now, I cannot give a manner of death because I don’t know what happened in terms of where did this bullet come from,” Rudd said. “Right now, all unnatural deaths are up for suggestion. That means homicide, suicide, accident, undetermined.”
Police have said they are withholding certain details about the case so as not to compromise the investigation. Detective Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County sheriff’s office, said Wednesday that police were still waiting for the results of ballistics tests and other forensic analysis.
Also Wednesday, the village released a statement saying that, at the time of Gliniewicz’s death, the village had been conducting an “inventory review” of Police Department procedures and equipment that was prompted by former Chief Michael Behan’s retirement Aug. 28. Gliniewicz had “participated in this process,” the statement said.