More than 100 police officers using aircraft and canine units searched a northern Illinois county on late Tuesday for three suspects believed to be involved in the fatal shooting of a 30-year veteran police officer, officials said.
Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, 52, was found wounded on Tuesday morning after reporting that he was pursuing three suspects on foot, the Lake County Sheriff's Office said. He died later.
Officials have only described the three suspects as two white men and one black man, said Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesman Christopher Covelli. The village of Fox Lake, with a population of about 10,500 people, is roughly halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee.
Gliniewicz's death is the third law enforcement fatality in Illinois this year, according to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Tuesday’s shooting came days after a county deputy sheriff in Texas was killed in a hail of gunfire while refueling a patrol car at a gas station. A suspect in the Friday shooting was captured and has been charged with capital murder.
An emotional Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit described Gliniewicz, the father of four boys and a decorated officer, as a personal friend and a three-decade member of the department.
Now those sons "are going to have to go on alone," Terry Resetar, Gliniewicz's mother-in-law, told the Chicago Tribune.
"We lost a family member," Schmit said of the officer known around town as "GI Joe." "His commitment to the people of this community has been unmatched and will be dearly missed."
Police with dogs and helicopters continued to search woods and swampy areas after three suspects fled the scene where Gliniewicz was shot.
On Tuesday evening, a group of officers formed a line and disappeared into dense trees and brush in a search for the suspects as bystanders watched across a busy road. Officials had told local residents to remain indoors.
"I've lived here for 30 years and never had to lock my door until now," said Dan Christensen, 64, as a police helicopter circled above a nearby wooded area.
The suspects were on foot when the officer initially made contact with them, and they stole his firearm and other gear before fleeing, media reports said.
Officials ordered commuter trains halted, roads blocked and area schools locked down as they conducted a widespread search in a wooded area about 40 miles north of Chicago near the Wisconsin border.
Federal marshals, Illinois State Police and units from McHenry and Lake County Sheriff's offices, many with drawn rifles, searched door-to-door.
The Federal Aviation Administration established a no-fly zone over the search area.
Al Jazeera and wire services