An American rookie police officer was shot dead in the early hours of yesterday morning as he responded to a report of an armed robbery at a local 24-hour pharmacy in Jersey City, New Jersey. The gunman, who did not attempt to rob the shop, instead waited for the police to arrive, telling a witness that he was “going to be famous” before opening fire.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said the suspect, 27-year-old Lawrence Campbell, had arrived at the branch of Walgreens brandishing a knife. The shop’s private security guard told police that Campbell had assaulted him and taken his firearm, which authorities believe he used in the shooting.
Officer Melvin Santiago and his partner answered the 911 call shortly after 4am. Jean Belviso, a newspaper deliverywoman, told the Associated Press she was driving through the Walgreens car park as the police cruiser pulled up outside. Ms Belviso, 61, watched as the gunman emerged from the shop and started shooting. “We thought he was running, coming toward us,” Ms Belviso said. “He kept on shooting.”
Thirteen bullets passed through the windscreen of the police car. Officer Santiago, still in the front seat of the vehicle, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was later pronounced dead at the Jersey City Medical Centre. Campbell was shot and killed by a second set of police officers arriving on the scene. Mr Fulop said he had been wanted in connection with another murder.
Officer Santiago, who was 23, joined the Jersey City Police Department a year ago and graduated from the police academy in December 2013. He was the city’s first officer to be killed in the line of duty since 2009.