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Amid massive Illinois manhunt, a community remembers 'true American hero'

Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was fatally shot while pursuing three men on Tuesday in Illinois. A massive manhunt is underway for individuals involved in the shooting.

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Supporters hold signs as police continue searching for suspects in the shooting of a police officer Tuesday, in Fox Lake, Ill. Fox Lake Police Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was shot and killed while pursuing a group of suspicious men. Police with helicopters, dogs and armed with rifles are conducting a massive manhunt in northern Illinois for the individuals believed to be involved in the death of the three-decade member of the department and a father of four sons.

Michael Schmidt/AP

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The widespread search for the suspects responsible for the shooting of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz continues Wednesday in Fox Lake, Ill.

On Tuesday morning, Lieutenant Gliniewicz lost radio communication with his dispatch team while chasing three suspicious males – two white, one black – on foot. "His backup arrived shortly thereafter and found him injured with a gunshot wound," Lake County Sgt. Christopher Covelli said in an interview with the Associated Press. Gliniewicz died on the scene from his injuries.

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The Lake County Sheriff’s Office immediately took action to locate the suspects, teaming up with authorities from across the state and region to arm a 100-man search force, with police dogs and helicopter assistance at the ready. Officers took up positions on rooftops with rifle scopes and binoculars, scouring the area.

No suspects were found on Tuesday. The search force continues the manhunt on Wednesday, determined to find Gliniewicz's attackers. Gliniewicz's death marks the third law enforcement fatality in Illinois this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks such incidents.

Precautions were taken across Lake County to protect citizens from the men at large. Seven area schools canceled classes on Wednesday, the local commuter train halted service, and authorities asked residents to remain indoors as the investigation continues, Sargent Covelli said.

As officers searched, community members came together to remember Gliniewicz and his service to the community. "We lost a family member," Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said of the officer known around town as "GI Joe." ''His commitment to the people of this community has been unmatched and will be dearly missed."

Gathering in the village with signs reading “Police Lives Matter” and “Blue and Brave,” Fox Lake residents expressed their gratitude for Gliniewicz. Gina Maria, a teacher in the community, said, "This particular officer is a pillar in my community and definitely going to be missed, and (he) touched so many lives."

On a public memorial page, hundreds posted their support for Gliniewicz, remembering him as a “true American hero” and “a mentor and leader.” A fellow officer wrote, “You are gone, but not forgotten.”

This report contains material from the Associated Press.