ANTIOCH, Ill. (AP) — Several hundred police officers from around the country attended a funeral Monday for a suburban Chicago lieutenant shot and killed last week, and residents of the area turned out by the thousands to watch the hearse go by.
Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, who was 52 and on the cusp of retirement after more than 30 years with the Fox Lake Police Department, was shot and killed shortly after he radioed in that he was chasing three suspicious men on foot.
His more than mile-long funeral procession wound through small-town Fox Lake and lakeside forests that were the focus of a manhunt for the still at-large suspects. Fox Lake is a close-knit village of around 10,000 people and located about 50 miles north of Chicago.
Many of those looking on from the roadside applauded as the procession went by. Blue ribbons — a mark of respect for police — were tied to trees along the way. Pictures of the officer were placed along the route. And one person held a up a sign that read, “You will never be forgotten.”
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Gliniewicz’s wife, Mel, wore a police badge on a necklace at funeral services earlier at a high school auditorium in Antioch, her husband’s hometown not far from Fox Lake. Mourners walked by his flag-draped coffin, many hugging his wife and their four sons.
Fox Lake’s recently retired police chief recalled Gliniewicz’s fondness for the phrase “embrace the suck,” about dealing with difficult tasks. “Now we’re doing it today,” Michael Behan told the packed auditorium about Gliniewicz’s funeral.
While most people run from danger, Gliniewicz ran toward it, Joliet Police Officer Rachel Smithberg said.
“Every day he put on his uniform and said, ‘Send me,'” she said, a few feet away from Gliniewicz’s open casket.
Gliniewicz, who also served in the U.S. Army, told dispatchers last Tuesday that three men ran into a swampy area and requested a second unit. He died from a gunshot wound shortly after backup officers found him about 50 yards from his squad car.
Attendees at the service included Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and his wife, Diana, both of whom also hugged Gliniewicz’s wife and kids.
On a stage next to the coffin was a policeman’s uniform and medals pinned to it. Part of the display included a statue of a soldier, standing at attention and clutching a rifle.
Bagpipers performed as pallbearers placed the casket in the hearse at the start of the 18-mile procession to Fox Lake and then back to Antioch, where Gliniewicz was to be buried later Monday at Antioch’s Hillside East Cemetery.