FOX LAKE, Ill.—Authorities have broadened the hunt for three suspects wanted in the fatal shooting of a popular northern Illinois police officer, even as they acknowledge there’s little information to go on.
The first day of the search for the suspects in Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz’s death saw sweeps of homes, railroad tracks and marshland in the village of Fox Lake.
The second day turned to the painstaking detective work of chasing down tips, collecting and reviewing surveillance video and interviewing residents near the crime scene. Search teams also moved out into subdivisions beyond the initial 2-square-mile perimeter. At least 100 investigators were on the ground Wednesday.
“I’m not going to put a time limit on this. We’ve got a murdered colleague,” said Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko, the lead investigator on the case. “We’re not gonna stop.”
A major challenge was the lack of a description of the suspects beyond the vague one that came from Gliniewicz, who told dispatchers he was pursuing three suspicious men — two white, one black — moments before he was shot.
“That was the only description provided,” said Filenko.
A woman who police later accused of lying reported seeing two suspicious men near a corn field Wednesday night, prompting a large police response in Volo, about 5 miles from Fox Lake.
About 85 police officers with dogs searched with air support for about five hours, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Christopher Covelli said.
But detectives later learned the woman, 30-year-old Kristin B. Kiefer of Vernon Hills, had fabricated the account, Covelli said. Kiefer told investigators she wanted attention from a family that employs her and that she chose the location because of Gliniewicz’s death, he said.
Kiefer has been charged with disorderly conduct and falsifying a police report and is being held at the Lake County Jail until a bond hearing, Covelli said. It wasn’t immediately clear if she had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
Gliniewicz, a 30-year police veteran, was shot Tuesday morning while pursuing the men he spotted on his way to work, authorities have said. Gliniewicz told dispatchers the three ran into a swampy area, and he requested a second unit.
Dispatchers soon lost contact with him. Backup officers found him about 50 yards from his squad car with a gunshot wound. He died soon after.
Filenko said there was no indication he was intentionally targeted, though authorities did not rule out that possibility.
Gliniewicz’s death is the third law enforcement fatality in Illinois this year, according to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks officers’ deaths so their names can be enshrined on a Washington, D.C., memorial.
It says police shooting deaths in the U.S. are down 13 percent this year compared with the same January-to-September period last year. There were 30 last year and 26 this year.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch condemned the recent fatal shootings, telling a housing conference in Washington that violence against “all of us, regardless of what uniform any of us wear” must end.