CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A stunned community is mourning after the murder of a beloved police officer known as "G.I. Joe" Tuesday morning.
It is always tough for any community to lose a police officer, but it’s even more difficult when it’s a small town like Fox Lake.
Officer Joe Gliniewicz lived in Fox Lake and served the people for more than 30 years.
The murder of Gliniewicz sent a ripple of shock and sadness all across the community.
“Today not only did Fox Lake lose a family member, I lost a very dear friend. Lt. Joe Gliniewicz was a 30 year veteran, a decorated police officer, a family man, and a dear friend,” said Fox Lake Mayor Donny Schmit.
A former Army police officer, Gliniewicz is being remembered as a good father who was married with four sons.
As a cop he had a big heart, but was tough as nails.
“Joe was a great guy, he was a standup guy, he was a soldier, he loved this community. Joe was a tough guy. I just don't understand how this could happen to someone like Joe,” said former Army friend Rick Lehecka.
At the police station, complete strangers came by with flowers to pay their respects and to let his fellow officers know that Gliniewicz’s service to the community will never be forgotten.
“It's just out of respect, I mean they're here to watch our back, why can't we just give a little back,” said Fox Lake resident Drew Saunders.
As police continued their manhunt, community members gathered at the Edge Church to pray.
“You know, we're all just gathered here to lift his family up in prayer, this is an unspeakable tragedy,” said Fox Lake resident Kim Schoor.
Although Gliniewicz did not attend Edge Church, he partnered with the pastor in many local youth outreach programs.
“There's just so many things that he's been involved in throughout this community. He was just a pillar in the community, really well respected, and loved and admire by all, it will just be, it's going to be hard,” said Pastor Kim McCormick of Edge Church.
Lt. Gliniewicz so loved police work that he worked with the Fox Lake Explorers Club teaching teens what it's like to be a police officer.
After 32 years, he had recently been telling friends he was thinking about retiring.
Gliniewicz will be missed. May he rest in peace.