Suicide of Joe Gliniewicz

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Joe Gliniewicz
Joe Gliniewicz selfie.jpg
Charles Joseph Gliniewicz

(1963-08-25)August 25, 1963
DiedSeptember 1, 2015(2015-09-01) (aged 52)
Cause of deathSelf-inflicted gunshot wounds
Burial placeHillside East Cemetery
Antioch, Illinois
42°28′49″N 88°03′56″W / 42.48028°N 88.06556°W / 42.48028; -88.06556
ResidenceAntioch, Illinois
Other names"G.I. Joe"
Alma materKaplan University
OccupationLaw enforcement officer
Years active1985–2015
EmployerFox Lake Police Department
Fox Lake, Illinois

On the morning of September 1, 2015, police lieutenant Charles Joseph "Joe" Gliniewicz (born 1963) of the Fox Lake, Illinois Police Department was found dead in a wooded area in Fox Lake. At first it was thought Gliniewicz was killed by three unknown assailants, but after two months of investigation officials concluded that Gliniewicz had actually committed suicide after realizing that long-term criminal activity he'd been involved in faced imminent exposure.[1][2][3][4]


Fox Lake, population 10,600, is a village in Grant and Antioch townships in Lake County and Burton Township in McHenry County, Illinois.[5]

Gliniewicz, a United States Army veteran, joined the Fox Lake Police Department in 1985. At the time of his death, he was a lieutenant and was scheduled to retire in a month. He was in the United States Army Reserve from 1981 until 2007, leaving with the rank of first sergeant.


At 7:52 a.m. on September 1, 2015, Gliniewicz radioed that he was pursuing three men at an abandoned cement plant. After he was found dead[when?] a manhunt was launched for these three men, involving some 400 law enforcement officers on foot, vehicles and horseback.[6]

Thousands of people attended Gliniewicz's funeral and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner ordered flags to half-staff.[7] Many early reactions blamed Gliniewicz's death on a "war on cops" and Black Lives Matter.[8][9]


In early September, Joseph Battaglia, a former Chicago police officer, began calling police agencies and media outlets insisting that Gliniewicz had shot himself intentionally. On September 13 Battaglia was charged with disorderly conduct after threatening officials for not declaring Gliniewicz' death a suicide.[10][11]

An investigation concluded that Gliniewicz's death had been a "carefully staged suicide." The investigators discovered that Gliniewicz had been embezzling money for at least seven years from the Fox Lake Police Explorer program, which mentored young people hoping to become law enforcement officers. He is believed to have been concerned that an impending audit would expose him,[6] and had tried to induce someone to kill the village administrator conducting the audit.[12] The investigation discovered other serious incidents involving Gliniewicz, including threatening an emergency dispatcher with a gun, allegations of sexual harassment, and numerous suspensions.[13]

On January 27, 2016, Gliniewicz's wife was indicted on four counts of disbursing charitable funds without authority and for personal benefit, and two counts of money laundering;[14] she pled not guilty to these charges.[15] On February 2, 2016, authorities seized five bank accounts believed to be derived from embezzled funds.[16]


  1. ^ Wagner, Laura (September 2, 2015). "Dragnet Expanded For 3 Suspects In Killing Of Illinois Police Officer". NPR. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Peralta, Eyder (November 4, 2015). "Investigation Finds Illinois Cop At Center Of Manhunt Shot Himself". NPR. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  3. ^ Black, Lisa (November 4, 2015). "Sources: Fox Lake officer's death a suicide". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  4. ^ Miller, Michael (November 4, 2015). "Reports: Illinois cop whose shooting sparked nationwide outrage actually killed himself". Washington Post. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  5. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Fox Lake village, Illinois". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Castillo, Mariano (4 November 2015). "Death of Fox Lake, Illinois, officer a 'carefully staged suicide'". CNN. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  7. ^ McLaughlin, Eliott C.; Almasy, Steve (7 September 2015). "Fox Lake officer laid to rest in Antioch, Illinois". CNN. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  8. ^ "KING: Black Lives Matter was blamed for Gliniewicz's suicide". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  9. ^ Balko, Radley (2015-11-05). "A partial list of pundits, politicians and media outlets who used Joseph Gliniewicz's death to push the 'war on cops' narrative". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
  10. ^ Black, Lisa (September 13, 2015). "Ex-cop charged with threatening officials in Fox Lake officer shooting case". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  11. ^ Sanchez, Ray (September 15, 2015). "Fox Lake officer's killing: Feds reduce involvement in Joe Gliniewicz case". CNN. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
  12. ^ "Official: Cop Who Killed Himself Sought to Have Village Administrator Killed". WMAQ-TV. November 5, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  13. ^ Babwin, Dan; Webber, Tammy (November 6, 2015). "Personnel records show years of complaints against officer". Associated Press. Retrieved November 7, 2015.
  14. ^ Goudie, Chuck Hope, Leah (January 27, 2016). "Grand Jury Indicts Fox Lake Officer Widow Melodie Gliniewicz", WLS-TV. Retrieved February 3, 2016
  15. ^ Relerford, Michelle (February 3, 2016). "Fox Lake Widow Pleads Not Guilty to Laundering, Misuse of Charitable Funds", WMAQ-TV. Retrieved February 3, 2016
  16. ^ "Authorities seize 5 bank accounts tied to Fox Lake cop's widow", Chicago Tribune, February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2016