The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Authorities Investigate Whether Fox Lake Officer's Death Was A Suicide

By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Sep 15, 2015 8:29PM

It's been over two weeks since a Fox Lake cop was shot to death on the job. Despite a massive manhunt, there are no suspects in the case yet, and investigators are still trying to figure out whether it was a homicide or a suicide.

Authorities investigating the death of Fox Lake Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz have been pretty tight-lipped. Last week, Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd was the first to publicly say that the fatal shot to the torso that killed Gliniewicz may have been self-inflicted. Rudd said he didn't have enough information to definitely rule his death a homicide—or suicide or even an accident. Task force leaders weren't happy that Rudd released that information, complaining it could have jeopardized the investigation.

On the record, investigators told the Tribune they are "still pursuing this as a homicide" even as they consider "every theory." Multiple anonymous sources are telling the Trib that suicide is one of the theories that they're looking into while they await DNA, ballistics and gunshot residue tests.

Shortly before he was found shot, Gliniewicz told a dispatcher that he planned to pursue three people: two white males and one black male. Officers who responded found him shot and stripped of his gear in a remote marsh, and his .40-caliber service weapon was recovered nearby. There was surveillance video from the area showing three men matching Gliniewicz's description, but they were interviewed and ruled out as suspects.

There are still a lot of blanks to fill in, and it's not clear if authorities are still trying to figure out answers or whether they're withholding that information, the Tribune says. For instance, authorities say they found DNA that belongs to someone else near the crime scene, but they haven't said where. They haven't said if Gliniewicz was shot with his own gun or how close the gun was found to his body.

Gliniewicz had been on the force 30 years and had plans to retire at the end of the month. Task force investigators interviewed his family but didn't say whether that offered any insight.

Joseph A. Battaglia (Lake County Illinois Sheriff's Office)
Another odd detail in this case is that a retired Chicago cop, who apparently has nothing to do with the case, was arrested for threatening investigators. The Lake County Illinois Sheriff's Office says Joseph A. Battaglia made calls to investigators telling them he was a "retired police officer" and threatened to harm the Task Force and Coroner's Office if they didn't declare Gliniewicz’ death a suicide. He also called up media outlets, feeding them information that the sheriff's office says is false.

If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.