Suicide of Joe Gliniewicz
Charles Joseph Gliniewicz
August 25, 1963
|Died||September 1, 2015 (aged 52)|
|Cause of death||Self-inflicted gunshot wounds|
|Burial place||Hillside East Cemetery|
|Other names||"G.I. Joe"|
|Alma mater||Kaplan University|
|Occupation||Law enforcement officer|
|Employer||Fox 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.
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.
Thousands of people attended Gliniewicz's funeral and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner ordered flags to half-staff. Many early reactions blamed Gliniewicz's death on a "war on cops" and Black Lives Matter.
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.
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, and had tried to induce someone to kill the village administrator conducting the audit. The investigation discovered other serious incidents involving Gliniewicz, including threatening an emergency dispatcher with a gun, allegations of sexual harassment, and numerous suspensions.
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; she pled not guilty to these charges. On February 2, 2016, authorities seized five bank accounts believed to be derived from embezzled funds.
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