Gliniewicz case: Milwaukee official doesn’t regret showing support at funeral

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FOX LAKE/MILWAUKEE -- There have been several new developments in the case involving the death of Fox Lake police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz over the past 48 hours. Chief among them, Lake County Major Task Force officials have ruled the lieutenant's September 1st death a "carefully staged suicide."

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

Other new developments include the following:

  • Lt. Gliniewicz's "staged suicide" occurred after the Fox Lake Village Administrator, Anne Marrin, began an audit for all of Fox Lake's assets.
  • Lake County Major Task Force investigators say Gliniewicz was nervous that the audit would uncover his embezzlement of funds from the Fox Lake Explorers program, which he led.
  • Investigators say Gliniewicz had been embezzling money from the program for seven years -- spending the money on things like: personal purchases, travel expenses, mortgage payments, gym memberships and adult websites. There were also facilitated loans and unaccounted cash withdrawals.
  • Investigators learned Gliniewicz staged the scene of his death to make it appear as though it was a homicide. They say Gliniewicz had experience staging crime scenes, as he had done it for young people he mentored through the Explorers program.
  • Gliniewicz strategically aimed the first of two shots from his own weapon at the lower abdominal area, striking his cellular phone and bullet-proof vest, which absorbed most of the shock from the blast. Advanced ballistic testing confirmed that both shots were fired at "close range." Filenko said the testing shows the gun was placed underneath the vest carrier when the fatal round was fired.
  • Late Wednesday, November 4th, sources told WGN in Chicago Gliniewicz's widow, Melodie and his son, D.J. are under criminal investigation, to determine whether they had any part in the embezzling scheme.
  • On Thursday, it was revealed that Lt. Gliniewicz tried to arrange for a gang member "to put a hit" on a village administrator because he feared she would discover he had been embezzling money, and that cocaine was found in his desk.
Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz

After his death, Gliniewicz was hailed a hero -- a police officer killed in the line of duty. A massive manhunt ensued for the three suspects Gliniewicz had indicated he was investigating at the time of his death. Gliniewicz had radioed that he was following three suspects -- two males white, one male black.

On the morning of September 1, the lieutenant sent word over his radio at 7:52 a.m. he was pursuing the trio on foot. Three minutes later, he requested backup. Radio communication dropped off. Colleagues would not hear Gliniewicz's voice again.

The backups arrived at about 8 a.m. and a few minutes later found Gliniewicz dead. His body was roughly 50 yards from his cruiser, police said.

Three people who appeared in a surveillance video near the crime scene were eventually cleared of any suspicion.

Detective Christopher Covelli said Wednesday 150 separate investigators were involved in this case that tallied more than 25,000 hours. More than 430 leads were examined. More than 250 pieces of evidence were submitted and examined by crime labs. Thousands of pages of financial documents were reviewed. More than 6,500 pages of text messages from Gliniewicz's phone were reviewed as were more than 40,000 emails.

Law enforcement officials came from across the country to attend Gliniewicz's funeral on September 7th -- to honor the fallen officer and support his family.

Some of that support came from southeastern Wisconsin.

Mike Crivello

Mike Crivello

Mike Crivello, the president of the Milwaukee Police Association, which represents MPD's rank and file, was one of those on hand for Gliniewicz's funeral.

"There was so many people that came out in the community, signs on the lawn, in support of the loss of an officer, the tragedy," Crivello said.

Crivello says the new developments in this case mean new emotions for some -- including anger, disappointment and frustration.

"Absolutely understand those that gave of their time, gave of their donations, now might be bitter. I get that. But I hope, and I believe they do, still support the police officers that are out there every day doing the right thing," Crivello said. "For our community, I would tell you that we are stretched so thin with the amount of officers we have in the street. We are one terrible day away from a tragedy. But I am confident, and please understand I don’t ever want to see this happen, but I am confident should we experience a tragedy here in Milwaukee, the community will come forth and will support the police officers as the police officers support them on a daily basis."

Crivello says he doesn't regret going to Fox Lake to show his support for Gliniewicz at his funeral.

"I don`t think anyone wasted their time," Crivello said. "I would say certainly, in a situation like this, you have the potential to pull apart -- but I'd rather see the other."

As Crivello mentioned, many donated money following the lieutenant's death. Some of it went directly to help the Gliniewicz family. There's no word on what will happen to that money.

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz funeral

Lt. Joe Gliniewicz funeral

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