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A growing manhunt continued on land and in the air Tuesday for three suspects believed to have gunned down a police officer in northern Illinois during a foot chase.
The slain officer in Fox Lake, a village on the Wisconsin border, was identified as 30-year-veteran Lt. Joseph Gliniewicz, a married father of four boys. Colleagues nicknamed him "G.I. Joe," the mayor said.
"Today, not only did Fox Lake lose a family member — I lost a really dear friend," Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
Gliniewicz radioed to dispatch before 8 a.m. local time that he was chasing three male suspects engaged in suspicious activity, Lake County Sheriff’s spokesman Chris Covelli told reporters. The officer then lost contact with the dispatchers.
When backup arrived, officers found the injured Gliniewicz lying in a marshy area and stripped of his weapon and pepper spray, Covelli said. He died at the scene, reported NBC Chicago.
The suspects are described as two white men and one black man; further descriptions weren't available,the station said.
"We’re asking residents in the Fox Lake area to be on alert and dial 911 immediately. … No tip is too small," Covelli said.
Helicopters were deployed to scour the wooded areas by air. U.S. Marshals, ATF agents and canine units joined SWAT teams — wearing black and white camouflage — in and around Fox Lake, a community of 10,000 about 60 miles north of Chicago.
Nearby schools were put on lock down during the day, and parents were allowed to pick up their children around 4 p.m. CT.
Gliniewicz was remembered Tuesday for his enthusiasm and dedication to law enforcement, including working with children as part of a local Police Explorers unit.
"He would always try to help everybody," youth member Thomas Ashbacher told NBC Chicago. "He would give his shirt off his back if he could."
Ashbacher said Gliniewicz went by G.I. Joe because of his past military career, and was always patient when it came to showing the kids the ropes of law enforcement training. "He could be tough," Ashbacher recalled, "but he could also be the most friendliest guy [to] you."