A small neighborhood in northern Illinois has had a rocky Wednesday morning, as a manhunt was underway to find the three suspects who, just a day earlier, fatally gunned down a local police officer.
As residents in the Fox Lake community adorned the police station with purple and black bunting early on Wednesday morning, the neighborhood began piecing itself back together: roads were slowly opened, helicopters were no longer hovering in the skies, and the crime scene on U.S. Highway 12 was cleaned up.
Nevertheless, a number of area schools remained closed and hundreds of police officers from around the state poured into Fox Lake to help search for the three suspects who were involved in the fatal shooting of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz. Police departments across the country have cracked down on violence against the nation’s police officers, which number approximately 780,000, but Chicago is notorious for being especially tough on violence against its officers.
And so, with only minimal evidence to go on, the manhunt continues.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Lake County Sheriff’s Detective Christopher Covelli stated that an organized grid had been set up around the area on Tuesday, with the aid of 400 police officers, as they searched for three suspects. CNN reported that the police force widened the search area beyond the original two-mile-perimeter on Wednesday morning, and residents were told to remain on high alert.
Covelli said that two of the suspects are white males and the third suspect is a black male, but no other identifying information has been provided.
The Fox Lake police unit, located just 60 miles north of Chicago, is still asking residents throughout Illinois to report any “suspicious behavior” that may be associated with the shooting.
NBC Chicago reported that Gliniewicz — a 52-year-old husband, father of four boys, and 30-year-veteran in the police force — was shot around 8 a.m. local time Tuesday morning. Gliniewicz had responded to a report of “suspicious activity” on U.S. Highway 12 before he radioed the station for backup and then went silent. Officers later found his body in a marshy area on the roadside. His weapon and pepper spray had been removed.
The Fox Lake community of 10,000 residents have already begin mourning the loss of the beloved police officer, and many took to Twitter with the hashtag #FoxLake to spread news about the shooting.
“Today the Fraternal Order of Police lost a fellow member and brother who died heroically serving his community,” said Illinois Fraternal Order of Police President Chris Southwood. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the slain officer’s family, friends and fellow police officers. He leaves a legacy of several decades of service to Fox Lake for which we are humbly grateful.”