LAKE COUNTY, Il. — Investigators on Friday found a significant piece of evidence at the place where an Illinois police officer was fatally shot this week.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force commander George Filenko wouldn’t specify what type of evidence was discovered, only that it was located by a person.
Authorities have disclosed few details about the case. They are looking for three men — two white and one black — but that’s the extent of what they have told the public about the death of Fox Lake police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz.
“We’re no prepared to give out any specific descriptions yet,” Filenko told reporters earlier.
Filenko confirmed at the news conference that the officer’s .40-caliber pistol was found at the scene.
A source involved in the investigation told CNN on Thursday that Gliniewicz’s gun was fired, though it’s not clear who pulled the trigger.
The commander told reporters that investigators are using machetes and magnets to search the high grass at the scene of the slaying.
He said he also has yet to see videos that might also provide crucial evidence in the case. The recordings are still with federal authorities, he said.
The last day of work
Gliniewicz was on his way to work Tuesday morning, in the cruiser that he had taken home the day before, when he saw three suspicious people, Filenko said earlier this week.
This would not have been unusual as Gliniewicz was the type of officer who considered himself on duty as soon as he rolled into town, Filenko said.
The lieutenant made the first call at 7:52 a.m. and called three minutes later to request backup. The backup units arrived at 8:01 and found their fellow officer dead, roughly 50 yards from his vehicle, at 8:09, Filenko said.
Authorities searched across tricky terrain and brought in helicopters, K-9 units, federal agents, night-vision equipment and body-heat sensors. Police cleared every home in the cordoned-off area and fielded more than 100 tips, Filenko said.
So far, police have found no witnesses.
Besides a home security video that Filenko mentioned Thursday, police say they also have one video from a truck driver who had a camera in his vehicle and was in the area Tuesday.
An autopsy was completed, but authorities aren’t releasing the results yet, Filenko said. The Northern Illinois Police Crime Laboratory is expediting its review of evidence to determine whether there was any fingerprint or DNA transfer.
Local police officers have volunteered to come in while they’re off duty, and other law enforcement officers in the surrounding area have called to offer their assistance, Filenko said.
A local hero
Gliniewicz was a hero to many in Fox Lake. Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday night for a vigil to honor the 30-year police veteran. He led the local police explorers’ program, mentoring and training youths interested in becoming officers.
He was a husband and father of four.
“Joe was my best friend and my world. My hero,” Melodie Gliniewicz told more than 1,000 people at the candlelight vigil.
She said her husband was “the love of my life for the last 26½ years. He was my rock as much as I was his rock.”