A 23-year-old New Jersey police officer was gunned down by a known criminal, and now, people in the community are disgusted that a shrine to memorialize the now deceased gunman is bigger than the one for the officer.
Officer Melvin Santiago was only on the job for seven months when he was fatally shot by 27-year-old Lawrence Campbell. Reports say that Campbell entered a Walgreens convenience store with a knife, assaulted an armed security guard, and took his gun. Campbell reportedly waited outside for the police to arrive so that he could ambush them, and when Santiago and the other officers arrived, Campbell fatally shot the rookie officer. Right before police arrived, Campbell told a witness to watch the news that night because he was “going to be famous.” After shooting Santiago dead, the other officers opened fire on Campbell and killed him.
Since his untimely death, Santiago’s family and friends have honored him with a memorial at the spot where he was killed, but similarly, Campbell’s family and friends erected a larger memorial. Campbell’s wife is now speaking out, saying that she wished her husband had killed more officers.
(After city officials took down Campbell's first memorial, his friends/family returned and put this up)
“If that's the case, he should've took more with him,” said Campbell’s wife Angelique. “If they was going to stand over my husband and shoot him like a fucking dog, he should've took all of them the fuck out. That's how I feel. God forgive me, but that's how I feel.”
Santiago’s family members are outraged at Angelique’s comments and say that Lawrence Campbell was a “piece of shit.”
“He should have killed more?” asked Santiago’s stepfather Alex McBride. “Come on, is she serious? He’s not a hero.”
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop has called the memorial honoring the cop killer “disgusting.”
“There are people in every single community who just don't value life and this is highlighted by a situation like this,” said Fulop to The Associated Press. “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's socioeconomics - but at the end of the day we're dealing with it today. When you talk about that situation, yes, it's ignorant, yes it's disgusting, but this represents a lot of the challenges we have.”
The security guard that Campbell assaulted prior to ambushing the police is said to be at home recovering from injuries he sustained.
Sources: Daily Mail, News 12 NJ, NJ.com, CBS New York