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“Joe was the love of my life:” Widow speaks out as hundreds gather to remember ‘GI Joe’ Gliniewicz

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FOX LAKE, Illinois -- Hundreds gathered Wednesday evening, September 2nd to remember Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Tuesday morning.

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

Gliniewicz was on his way in to work Tuesday morning, in the cruiser that he had taken home the day before, when he saw three suspicious people. This would not have been unusual as Gliniewicz was the type of officer who considered himself on-duty as soon as he rolled into town.

The lieutenant made the first call at 7:52 a.m. and called three minutes later to request backup. The backup units arrived at 8:01 and found their fellow officer dead, roughly 50 yards from his vehicle, at about 8:09.

Three suspects remain on the lam, and while authorities continue to look for them in connection with Gliniewicz's death, the search has been called off in the immediate area where Gliniewicz was slain, police said Wednesday.


A vigil held in Gliniewicz's honor, held Wednesday evening in Fox Lake's Lakefront Park drew hundreds of people. Some had to be bused in because there wasn't enough room for everyone.

Vigil for Joe Gliniewicz

Vigil for Joe Gliniewicz

A memorial has been set up at the park -- and the attendance at the vigil is just one indication of the impact Gliniewicz had in the community he served.

"It's a shame that it happened. It's happening too much," Sandy Plarski of Lindenhurst, Illinois said.

Gliniewicz is the 24th law enforcement official to be shot and killed in the line of duty this year.

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz's wife, Mel makes remarks at his vigil

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz's wife, Mel makes remarks at his vigil

"We all lost someone (Tuesday).  Joe was my best friend. My hero. The love of my life for the last 26.5 years," Gliniewicz's wife, Mel said as she stood with her sons at her husband's vigil. "My world got a little bit smaller with his passing. He will truly be missed by all of us."

Joining law enforcement officials from nearby agencies was Mike Crivello, the head of the Milwaukee Police Association.

"Certainly the thoughts and prayers of the 1,600 men and women of the Milwaukee Police association go out to Joe`s family. These are very difficult times that we are in," Crivello said.

Crivello is calling on civic leaders and the community for support.

"Let the criminal element know that we cannot tolerate this type of behavior against a police officer," Crivello said.

Blue and black balloons were released as the vigil for Gliniewicz came to an end. But the memory of a fallen hero will stay with the crowd that gathered Wednesday evening.

Vigil for Joe Gliniewicz

Vigil for Joe Gliniewicz

"Stop the senseless killings," Plarski said.

Gliniewicz, known as "G.I. Joe," was supposed to retire at the end of this month. The day before he was killed, Gliniewicz met with the mayor to discuss his retirement plans and to make sure the Fox Lake Police Department's Explorer Post program continued without him.

Gliniewicz helped lead the Explorer Post, which mentors young people interested in careers in law enforcement.

Vigil for Joe Gliniewicz

Vigil for Joe Gliniewicz

More than 400 law enforcement officials have taken part in the search for the suspects in this case.


  • jacqulins

    Its so sad for any officer to loose their life over nothing especially when they are simply trying to do their job an just trying to do the right thing by protecting the community it does not matter on the color skin those guys who had taken his life along with many others are cowards i am a black young lady who love everyone and i love our officers who risk their lifes everyday for us its good and bad every where but all this killing needs to STOP my prayers and thought goes out to every officer and their families

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