Fox Lake officer's killing: Feds reduce involvement in Joe Glini - KMOV.com

Fox Lake officer's killing: Feds reduce involvement in Joe Gliniewicz case

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By Ray Sanchez, Pamela Brown and Mary Kay Mallonee CNN

(CNN) -- Some federal law enforcement agencies have either reduced or ended their involvement in helping solve the mysterious shooting death of Fox Lake, Illinois, police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz.

The U.S. Marshals' Fugitive Task Force pulled out of the investigation on September 4, according to a marshals service official, who said task force members were "redeployed to other assignments due to the fact no wanted suspects or persons of interest had been identified for them to locate."

In addition, the number of agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assigned to the case has dropped from 48 to 10, according to a bureau official.

Detective Chris Covelli, a spokesman for the Lake County Sheriff's Office, told CNN that federal agencies are "fully involved" in the investigation.

Gliniewicz was killed on the morning of September 1 in Fox Lake, a community of about 10,000 people in northern Illinois.

The lieutenant radioed dispatchers to say he was following three men into a heavily wooded area. He was later found shot dead there in what has turned into a deepening mystery that has stumped investigators. The coroner has said he can't rule out a homicide, suicide or accident.

In the nearly three weeks since the shooting, there have been no confirmed sightings of the three men the officer was pursuing, authorities said.

Disorderly conduct charges related to case

A retired Chicago police officer, meanwhile, appeared in court Tuesday to face disorderly conduct charges after threatening investigators on the case.

Joseph A. Battaglia, 54, failed to have his $100,000 bond reduced during his initial court appearance on two felony disorderly conduct counts stemming from threats to harm investigators unless Gliniewicz's death is declared a suicide.

Battaglia is accused of making calls to members of the Lake County coroner's office, police agencies and media outlets and threatening investigators "unless all the involved personnel declare Gliniewicz's death a suicide," according to a statement from the county sheriff's office.

An arrest warrant for Battaglia, who had no involvement in the Gliniewicz investigation, was issued on Saturday.

Gliniewicz had planned to retire in August, but he was asked to stay on for another month.

The Army veteran and father of four was on his way to work in the cruiser he had taken home the day before when three suspicious men piqued his interest. The lieutenant sent word over his radio at 7:52 a.m. that 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 backup units found their fellow officer dead, roughly 50 yards from his vehicle, officials said.

DNA belonging to someone other than Gliniewicz was found on his gun, which was recovered at the crime scene, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation. Covelli would not confirm DNA was found on the gun, but said investigators are awaiting test results of the DNA found at the scene that does not match Gliniewicz.

A gun with DNA not belonging to the officr could be a crucial clue, forensic scientist and CNN contributor Lawrence Kobilinsky said.

"Clearly not everybody has access to touch that gun, so a check of the national database could reveal the identity of the person that held that gun and presumably that person could be the shooter," he said.

Investigators recovered one shell casing near Gliniewicz's body, police said.

George Filenko, commander of the Lake County Major Crime Task Force, told CNN on September 4 that a "significant piece of evidence" was found at the crime scene. That evidence was a second shell casing, meaning two shots were fired at different locations within the crime scene, CNN has learned.

It's believed the officer's .40-caliber service weapon was used in the shooting based on the shell casings that were recovered, but officials are still awaiting the results of ballistics testing, according to sources.

While Lake County officials said the case is being handled as a homicide and the search continues for the three suspicious men, other theories remain on the table, including the possibility of a self-inflicted fatal gunshot wound.

Waiting on coroner's report

The Lake County coroner, Dr. Thomas Rudd, has said he is waiting for results of ballistics testing and other information from police making a determination on how Gliniewicz was killed.

Officers had identified and interviewed three people who were caught on video near the shooting scene. They were determined they were not involved in the crime, Filenko said.

Filenko said the men were captured on video taken by a home security system and a truck driver who had a camera in his vehicle the day Gliniewicz was killed.

"We have confirmed at this point they were not involved in this," he said. "Those individuals have established their whereabouts in that time frame." He did not identify the men.

Authorities searched rugged terrain and brought in helicopters, dogs, federal agents, night-vision equipment and body-heat sensors. Police cleared every home in the cordoned-off area and fielded more than 100 tips, Filenko said.

So far, police have found no witnesses.

Gliniewicz was a hero to many in Fox Lake. Hundreds of people gathered on September 2 for a vigil to honor the 30-year police veteran. He led the local police explorers' program, mentoring and training youths interested in becoming officers.

He was a husband and father of four.

"Joe was my best friend and my world. My hero," Melodie Gliniewicz told more than 1,000 people at the candlelight vigil.

She said her husband was "the love of my life for the last 26 and a half years. He was my rock as much as I was his rock."

CNN's Rosa Flores contributed to this report.

TM & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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