An Illinois police officer who was lauded as a hero after his fatal shooting prompted an intense and costly manhunt in fact committed suicide, carefully staging his death because he was about to be exposed as a thief, the Associated Press reports. Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Gliniewicz embezzled thousands of dollars from the Fox Lake Police Explorer program for seven years, and spent the money on such things as mortgage payments, travel expenses, gym memberships and adult websites, said Lake County Major Crimes Task Force Commander George Filenko. “We have determined this staged suicide was the end result of extensive criminal acts that Gliniewicz had been committing [as] he was under increasing levels of personal stress from scrutiny of his management of the … program,” Filenko said.
“We completely believed from day one that this was a homicide,” Filenko said. “Gliniewicz committed the ultimate betrayal.” Just before he died, Gliniewicz radioed that he was chasing three suspicious men in a swampy area near Fox Lake, a suburb north of Chicago. Backup officers found the Army veteran's body about 50 yards from his squad car. His handgun wasn't found for more than an hour, even though it was less than three feet from the body. Gliniewicz's death on Sept. 1 set off a large manhunt, with hundreds of officers searching houses, cabins and even boats on area lakes. Helicopters with heat-sensing scanners and K-9 units scoured the area for days. Some 50 suburban Chicago police departments and sheriff's offices assisted, racking up more than $300,000 in overtime and other costs, according to an analysis by the Daily Herald newspaper.