Illinois officer down: Police take to swamps, air in manhunt of suspects

Police in Illinois are engaged in a massive manhunt for three suspects believed to be involved in the shooting of an officer in Fox Lake, about 55 miles north of Chicago.

Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/AP
A police helicopter patrols a swampy area near route 59 and Rollins in Fox Lake, Ill., where a manhunt is in progress after an officer was shot on Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko says an officer was shot Tuesday morning in Fox Lake, 55 miles north of Chicago.

A massive manhunt is underway for three men suspected of shooting and killing a police officer in northern Illinois.

Law enforcement on the ground with dogs and in the air with helicopters are searching the swampy areas around Fox Lake, Ill., on Tuesday. Police are looking for three men after an officer was shot while pursuing them on foot some 55 miles north of Chicago. The wounded officer, who has not been identified, radioed for back up, but soon lost contact with the dispatcher. 

“His backup arrived shortly thereafter and found him injured with a gunshot wound. The officer has succumbed to his injuries and passed away,” said Sgt. Christopher Covelli, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, to the Associated Press.

The officer described the men he was pursuing as two white men and one black man, Sargent Covelli told CNN.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the officer had also been stripped of his equipment, including his gun.

In response, police launched a large operation to find the three suspects. Trains were stopped and roads blocked as police set up on rooftops and other key areas. Helicopters flew overhead with armed officers leaning out.

At least one local high school, Grant Community High School, was placed on lockdown. Children and teachers were instructed to stay away from windows and stay hidden. All students were reported safe and the administration continues to update parents on its website.

Michael Drewer, a resident of Fox Lake and owner of Dipstick Oil Change, arrived to work to find police tape surrounding his building. He noticed police blocking off roads around Route 12 and Sayton Road.

“Then a half-hour later ... they checked our security video and then told me I wouldn't be doing any business today,” Mr. Drewer told the Chicago Tribune.

Authorities in Fox Lake have asked for assistance from surrounding police departments and federal agencies. The FBI is sending agents to aid in the investigation.

Covelli advises residents of the surrounding area to stay inside and report suspicious activity. 

This report includes material from the Associated Press and Reuters.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.