Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published July 13, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Page modified July 14, 2014 at 2:49 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Police officer slain by killer who sought fame

Family and friends say Melvin Santiago had dreamed of being a police officer since he was a boy, seeking to follow in the footsteps of his uncle.


Associated Press

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
"Officers returned fire at Campbell, killing him." At least the douche doesn't get to live to tell about it. MORE
What a tragedy, RIP Santiago. MORE
Where do all the scummy people come from? RIP Officer Santiago, you deserved better. My condolences to all the family,... MORE

advertising

JERSEY CITY, N.J. —

Family and friends say Melvin Santiago had dreamed of being a police officer since he was a boy, seeking to follow in the footsteps of his uncle.

When Santiago accomplished his dream last 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, the 23-year-old was dead after a gunman shot him in the head.

Santiago died early Sunday, shortly after he and other officers responded to a report of an armed robbery at a 24-hour drugstore.

The gunman, 27-year-old city resident Lawrence Campbell, never tried to rob the store, Fulop said. Instead, he approached a witness 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.

Police are also searching for another man who they believe was involved in the previous homicide with Campbell, Fulop said. They have been aggressively seeking Daniel Wilson for the last three days, Fulop said.

"Melvin was an officer who represented everything one would want to see in a police officer," Fulop said. "I know the entire city's thoughts and prayers are with the Santiago family during this difficult time and we mourn together."

Santiago's longtime friend, Gary Nahrwold, said it was about a decade ago that his pal told him he wanted to become a police officer.

Nahrwold, 24, also hopes to join the force and said he won't be discouraged by Santiago's slaying. If he joins a police department, he will serve in Melvin's memory and the memory of others killed in the line of duty.

"It just gives me more purpose to do it," he said. "I'm not going to be deterred by some senseless crimes."

___

Associated Press writers Julio Cortez in Jersey City and Ashley Thomas in Philadelphia contributed to this report.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times photographs

Seattle space needle and mountains

Purchase The Seattle Times images


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►