FOX LAKE, Ill. (AP) — Authorities have recovered video that they hope will provide significant help to detectives searching for three men wanted in the fatal shooting of an Illinois police officer, the lead investigator said Thursday.
A homeowner came forward with the video from a home security system, said Lake County Major Crime Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko. Investigators have not yet viewed it because specialized equipment is needed to retrieve it from a hard drive. So the video was turned over to the Department of Homeland Security, and results are expected by the end of the day, he said.
Filenko said the homeowner has seen the video and told investigators it shows three people near the scene of Tuesday’s killing of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz in the village of Fox Lake. Authorities did not explain how the homeowner was able to see it.
“The homeowner felt it relevant enough to turn this over to us,” Filenko said. “We tried to view it last night. Unfortunately, we don’t have the advanced equipment here.”
Filenko had said previously that any video must be collected in a deliberate “evidentiary way” way to ensure it has not been tampered with.
Gliniewicz, a 30-year police veteran, was shot Tuesday in the village of Fox Lake, while pursuing three suspicious men, authorities say. He told dispatchers the three ran into a swampy area and requested a second unit.
Dispatchers soon lost contact with him. Backup officers found him about 50 yards from his squad car with a gunshot wound. He died soon after.
Investigators have run into a number of challenges, including having only the vague description of the men that Gliniewicz radioed in to dispatchers.
Then, a false report on Wednesday night sent dozens of officers scrambling through a cornfield in the dark in hopes of finding the suspects.
The report came from a woman who phoned police to say that two men tried to get inside her car while she was stranded on the side of the road by car trouble. The caller said the two men, spooked that she was calling police, fled into a cornfield. Sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officers, aided by helicopters with heat sensors and dogs, spent five hours searching the area in the nearby community of Volo.
Eventually, the caller told authorities she made up the story because she wanted attention from a family that employed her as a nanny, said Christopher Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County sheriff.
The 30-year-old woman, Kristin B. Kiefer of Vernon Hills, was charged with disorderly conduct and falsifying a police report and was jailed on $100,000 bail. It was not clear whether she had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
“Last night was an unfortunate incident. It tied up a number of resources, including my detectives,” Filenko said.
On Thursday, Filenko also clarified that the slain officer’s weapon had been recovered. A newspaper report on Tuesday quoted one official as saying the officer had been stripped of his gun and other equipment.
Evidence from the scene has been turned over to a crime lab, and results were expected by Friday, he said, adding that he thought it was likely the suspects are still in the area.
Where Gliniewicz was killed — an open area of trees and marshland bordered by several houses on one end and a public works site on the other — has been the scene of several complaints about vandalism and squatters, Filenko said. He was not sure what brought Gliniewicz to the site on Tuesday.
The community, meanwhile, was still coming to grips with the loss of an immensely popular police veteran.
At a Wednesday evening prayer vigil, Gliniewicz’s wife, Mel, and their four sons took to a stage to roaring applause.
“Joe was my best friend, my world, my hero, the love of my life for the last 26 and a half years,” she told a crowd of hundreds of people while struggling to hold back tears. Participants lit candles and released a sky lantern.
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