The Illinois police officer whose death last month set off a massive manhunt was shot with his own weapon, authorities confirmed Thursday.
Fox Lake police Lt. Charles Gliniewicz, a 30-year-police veteran, had radioed in to dispatchers on Sept. 1 that he was in solo pursuit of three suspicious men before he was found lying facedown in a remote, marshy area of a village south of the Wisconsin-Illinois state line.
The lead investigator has now revealed that Lieutenant Gliniewicz was shot twice by his own .40 caliber service weapon, which was found nearby the crime scene.
According to the lab results from the Illinois State Police, analysis of gunshot residue found on his hands was not enough to say whether the officer fired any shots himself.
"The weapon could have been fired by Lt. Gliniewicz or he could have been in a close proximity of the weapon being fired," Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko told reporters.
No further details were provided on what the signs of the struggle were.
The case remains a national mystery as the county coroner said it’s uncertain if Gliniewicz's death was a homicide, suicide, or an accident. Following the discovery of his body, a massive manhunt was launched to find the three suspects he had reported chasing.
The effort involved more than 400 officers and federal agents, K-9 units, and helicopters, but so far, police have not arrested or identified any suspects.
Commander Filenko said the investigation is being conducted as a homicide probe but he indicated that detectives aren’t ruling out the possibility of suicide. Rumors that the incident may have been part of an elaborate suicide plot began circulating within just weeks of his death, an explanation that his family was quick to dismiss.
"My father never once had a single suicidal thought in his life," Donald Gliniewicz, son of Lt. Gliniewicz, told Chicago's Daily Herald, The Christian Science Monitor reported on Sept. 16.
Nine unidentified DNA samples were found at the scene. To find the source of the samples, detectives have taken more than 100 samples from people who might have had contact with Gliniewicz, Filenko said.
This report contains material from the Associated Press.