JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — The mayor lashed out Monday at residents for memorializing a man who killed a police officer over the weekend.
A temporary memorial was on display in the Jersey City neighborhood where Lawrence Campbell lived. It included candles and balloons and messages from friends of the man who police said ambushed 23-year-old officer Melvin Santiago early Sunday at a drugstore.
Campbell’s widow, Angelique Campbell, told News 12 New Jersey she is sorry for Santiago’s family but that her husband should have killed more officers if they were planning to kill him.
On Monday, Mayor Steven Fulop called the memorial and her comments “disgusting” and “ignorant.” He said they aren’t representative of the city as a whole.
Police said they are looking for clues to explain why Campbell, who had prior drug arrests and was released from jail in January, would have committed such a violent act.
Campbell, who didn’t try to rob the store, assaulted the Walgreens’ armed security guard and snatched his gun, Fulop said. Then, he approached someone and apologized for his conduct inside the store, then said to watch the news later because he was “going to be famous.”
Campbell then waited for officers to arrive and shot Santiago with what police believe was the guard’s weapon.
Other officers returned fire at Campbell, killing him.
Fulop said Campbell was one of three suspects wanted by police for a prior homicide. Another man being sought in that case, 23-year-old city resident Daniel Wilson, was captured Sunday night, officials said.
Fulop said authorities had been aggressively seeking Wilson for three days.
Santiago had dreamed of being a police officer since he was a boy, seeking to follow in the footsteps of his uncle.
When he accomplished his dream in December and joined the Jersey City force as a rookie officer, he asked to serve in what the city’s public safety director describes as its “toughest district.” Seven months after he graduated from the police academy, he was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.
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