Death of Illinois officer a ‘carefully planned suicide’

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FOX LAKE, Ill. -- The death of Fox Lake, Ill., police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz was "a carefully planned suicide," Lake County Major Crimes Task Force commander George Filenko said Wednesday.

"This staged suicide was the end result of extensive criminal acts that Gliniewicz had been committing," Filenko said.

Gliniewicz was under increasing levels of stress from scrutiny into what the investigators found to be criminal activity, Filenko said.

The officer had been stealing and laundering money from the police department program that mentored young people hoping to become law enforcement officers, Filenko said. Gliniewic was a leader in that program and had been stealing money for at least seven years, he said.

The investigation found the officer -- who had experience creating mock crime scenes -- staged his suicide to make it look like a homicide.

The investigation indicates at least two others were involved in criminal activity, though that inquiry is ongoing, and police are not commenting further on this angle for now, Filenko said.

Gliniewicz was weeks away from retirement -- actually, he was past his planned last day at the department's request -- when he was apparently killed in the line of duty.

There was outrage over his death and an intense manhunt. Then puzzlement. What originally looked like an officer killed by suspects during one last, fateful call began to take a different shape.

The officer was killed by a gunshot to his torso, the coroner said, but as far as manner of death, nothing could be ruled out -- homicide, suicide or accident.

Before becoming a police officer, Gliniewicz served in active duty and reserve from 1980 to 2007, earning the nickname GI Joe by those who knew him. He left the military with a rank of first sergeant.

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