Sidewalk memorial honors New Jersey cop killer - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Sidewalk memorial honors New Jersey cop killer

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
(AP Photo/Jersey City Mayor's office). This photo provided by the Jersey City Mayor's office shows Officer Melvin Santiago. (AP Photo/Jersey City Mayor's office). This photo provided by the Jersey City Mayor's office shows Officer Melvin Santiago.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  • NationalMore>>

  • Ohio State band marches on after director's firing

    Ohio State band marches on after director's firing

    Friday, July 25 2014 7:12 AM EDT2014-07-25 11:12:49 GMT
    The Ohio State marching band is moving forward without its director; a day after he was fired they're performing with the Columbus Symphony in what's often considered the band's unofficial season kickoff.More >>
    The Ohio State marching band is moving forward without its director: A day after he was fired, the band is performing with the Columbus Symphony in what is often considered its unofficial season kickoff.More >>
  • Cause sought for gunfight between patient, doctor

    Cause sought for gunfight between patient, doctor

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:44 AM EDT2014-07-25 10:44:24 GMT
    Authorities hope to learn if a psychiatrist had concerns about a patient who allegedly killed a case worker at a suburban Philadelphia hospital before the doctor pulled out his own gun to protect himself.More >>
    Authorities are attempting to determine why a patient fatally shot a caseworker at a hospital complex in a Philadelphia suburb and whether a psychiatrist who pulled out his own gun and wounded the patient had concerns...More >>
  • Family feud sparks revolt at grocery store chain

    Family feud sparks revolt at grocery store chain

    Friday, July 25 2014 6:24 AM EDT2014-07-25 10:24:21 GMT
    It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures.More >>
    It's been called a David vs. Goliath story, a "Tale of Two Arthurs" and even the "ultimate Greek tragedy," but the characters in this drama are not Biblical or literary figures. They're grocery store owners.More >>
By DAVID PORTER
Associated Press

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A day after a rookie police officer was gunned down in an ambush, mourners came to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial with candles, balloons, empty liquor bottles and messages of love from friends scrawled on T-shirts taped to a brick wall - to his killer.

"Rest easy," ''Thug in peace" and "See u on the other side" were among the things friends wrote to Lawrence Campbell, who police say ambushed Officer Melvin Santiago early Sunday as he responded to an armed robbery call at a 24/7 pharmacy. Other officers returned fire, killing Campbell.

Visitors to the memorial would not give their names to The Associated Press. But Barbara Jones, Campbell's neighbor, told The Jersey Journal that the Campbell she knew was nothing like the man city officials say was lying in wait for officers to arrive before opening fire.

"He was a good man. He looked out for everybody on the block," Jones told the newspaper.

Angelique Campbell, Campbell's widow, told News 12 New Jersey on Sunday that she was sorry for Santiago's family but that her husband should have killed more officers if they were planning to kill him. She later apologized for the comments.

City officials lashed out that some residents were grieving for the suspect instead of the rookie officer.

Mayor Steven Fulop called Angelique Campbell's comments "ignorant" and "disgusting." Police Director James Shea said they weren't representative of the city or even of Campbell's neighborhood in southwest Jersey City, where the majority of shootings in the city take place and where distrust of police is as much a staple as boarded-up houses and groups of young men hanging out on street corners at midday.

"I firmly believe that the people who made the ignorant comments on the TV and the people who put up a memorial to a cowardly murderer who shot somebody in the head without giving him a chance are not representative of the people who live up there," Shea said.

"We know that because our officers interact with them every day. There is a minority of criminals that makes their job dangerous, but there is a large population up there that they are proud to serve."

A temporary memorial to the slain officer - significantly smaller than the one for Campbell - was set up outside the Walgreens where he was killed, drawing mourners as the store reopened Monday.

Crime remains an issue, even as the town on the Hudson River across from Manhattan has seen economic improvement and gentrification. Campbell's neighborhood - and the Walgreens less than a mile away - is the other Jersey City, the one far away from downtown and its glittering waterfront, gleaming office towers and artisanal taco shops.

Police presence has been amped up there over the last several months. Fulop and Shea said the strategy had shown some positive results but that any progress on violent crime is fragile and can be erased, at least in the public's mind, by an incident such as Sunday's.

Violent crime in Jersey City dropped 22 percent in the first three months of 2014, compared with the same period a year ago, according to statistics compiled by the New Jersey State Police. There have been 15 homicides this year.

"We've certainly been trending in the right direction," Fulop said. "We took the approach of aggressive police sweeps and visibility and that has made progress. But you also see over time, in any urban area, the bad guys adjust, and then we need to adjust.

"There are people in every single community who just don't value life and this is highlighted by a situation like this. There's a lot of reasons for that - some of it is decades of how they perceive police, some it's jobs, some of it is socioeconomics - but at the end of the day, we're dealing with it today."

Police said they are looking for clues to explain why the 27-year-old Campbell, who had previous drug arrests and was released from jail in January, would have committed such a violent act.

Campbell, who didn't try to rob the Walgreen's, assaulted the store's armed security guard and snatched his gun, Fulop said. Then, he told someone to watch the news later because he was "going to be famous."

Campbell waited for officers to arrive and shot the 23-year-old Santiago with what police believe was the guard's weapon. Santiago's funeral is scheduled for Friday at St. Aloysius Catholic Church.

___

Associated Press writer Jill Colvin in Jersey City contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow

341 Northern Blvd., Albany, NY 12204

Telephone: 518.436.4822
Fax: 518.426.4792
Email: news@news10.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Albany, Inc. A Media General Company.