Lake County law enforcement on Thursday blasted the county coroner for releasing information about the death of a Fox Lake police officer, saying his comments have jeopardized the case.
Coroner Thomas Rudd on Wednesday said that the officer, Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, died from a single gunshot wound. He later added that the officer had been shot in the torso.
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Commander George Filenko was quoted in a news release, saying: “We have not been contacted by or had communication with Doctor Rudd. Doctor Rudd, releasing information which is sensitive to this investigation, puts the entire case at risk. All of the progress made since this tragic incident is potentially in jeopardy. This is an active investigation and it’s inappropriate for anyone other than the investigating body to release information to the media, prior to providing a final written report of the findings, or even having a conversation with the task force.”
Lake County Undersheriff Raymond Rose was quoted as saying in the release, “Doctor Rudd’s actions are completely outside of policy, procedure, protocols and are completely unprofessional. The coroner should not release sensitive case information while an investigation is still underway, it’s completely irresponsible.”
Rudd said Wednesday his office has not ruled out the possibility of suicide or accident.
He declined to comment Thursday on the allegations in the news release, which are highly unusual for any law enforcement investigation, especially one that has attracted national attention.
Gliniewicz, a 30-year police veteran who was nearing retirement, was found dead Sept. 1. He radioed he was chasing three suspects before the shooting, which led to a massive manhunt, but no suspects have been arrested.
Police have so far provided few details about Gliniewicz’s slaying, declining to say where Gliniewicz was shot and whether he was shot with his own gun.
The investigation into Gliniewicz’s death is moving forward, with county and federal investigators following up on leads and speaking with the community, Lake County sheriff’s spokesman Christopher Covelli said in a statement.
Covelli said the task force is awaiting the test results from several items sent to crime laboratories for analysis. Among them is the DNA of an unknown person located at the spot where Gliniewicz’s body was found.
Contributing: Ruth Fuller, AP