BEYOND BERGEN: In a murder with chilling echoes, a gunman who killed a rookie Jersey City police officer overnight told someone to watch the TV news because he was “going to be famous,” authorities said.
The cold-blooded murder of Police Officer Melvin Santiago bore a reminder to the last line-of-duty officer death in Jersey City — that of Detective Marc DiNardo, who was killed in July 2009 during a raid on an apartment where an armed robber lay in wait.
“Patrolman Santiago knew the risks associated with this job, yet he put himself in front of danger in order to keep Jersey City safe,” the Jersey City Police Benevolent Association said in a statement. “Words cannot adequately express our feelings about this senseless tragedy.”
Authorities said 27-year-old Lawrence Campbell was carrying a knife when he attacked a security guard at a Walgreens at Communipaw Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard just after 4 a.m. today.
After taking the guard’s gun, Campbell hit him with it, waited for police, then opened fire on a patrol car responding to a reported holdup
Santiago, who was sitting in the passenger seat as the car pulled into the lot, was struck in the head, they said.
The 23-year-old officer, who was graduated from the police academy in December, was pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center.
Other officers shot and handcuffed Campbell, who died shortly after.
“It is a tragic situation when any officer is killed in the line of duty,” Mayor Steve Fulop said during a news conference at the medical center. “Melvin was an officer who represented everything one would want to see in a police officer. I know the entire city’s thoughts and prayers are with the Santiago family during this difficult time and we mourn together.”
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