The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that evidence in the fatal shooting of a veteran Fox Lake, Illinois, police officer “supports our investigation that more than one shot was fired at the scene.” The office also said the coroner's recent comments on findings put "the entire case at risk."
In their statement, police didn’t reveal how many shots were fired at the scene of Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz’s death, “as it is confidential information critical to the investigation.”
Lake County Major Crime Task Force Commander George Filenko also commented that the coroner "releasing information which is sensitive to this investigation, puts the entire case at risk."
"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,” Filenko added.
Coroner’s Comments Put 'Entire Case at Risk': Police
The release comes after Lake County Coroner Thomas Rudd said he would not reveal officially how many times the officer had been shot, only that he died from a “single devastating gunshot wound,” and that he has not determined officially whether the officer was even shot at close range or from a distance.
Rudd said he has to keep an open mind, but he still considers the case a murder investigation.
“Based on what is coming from law enforcement agencies, we are pursuing it as if it is a homicide,” Rudd said. “If we are told later that they don’t have evidence of a homicide, then we have to consider the other manners of death, which could be suicide or accident.”
Filenko also spoke at a Thursday evening presser, commenting it wasn't his department's protocol to release information that can jeopardize case.
The information released "could inhibit our investigation down the road," Filenko added.
Rudd did not immediately comment on the statement from officials.