Contact Us
Make My Homepage

2 NJ police deaths reflect job’s inherent peril

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — Christopher Goodell served in the kind of community where violent crime is something seen on the evening news. Melvin Santiago volunteered to be assigned to the toughest neighborhood in New Jersey’s second-largest city.

Their deaths this week underscored the peril faced by officers everywhere, whether in gritty urban areas or sleepy suburban towns.

Mourners react after exiting McLaughlin Funeral Home during visitation hours for Jersey City Police Department officer Melvin Santiago, who was killed Sunday, July 13 while on duty, Thursday, July 17, 2014, in Jersey City, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Goodell was monitoring Route 17 for speeders not far south of the New York state border in Waldwick when his unmarked car was rear-ended by an 18-wheeler early Thursday. Four days earlier and about 25 miles away in Jersey City, Santiago was shot and killed in what authorities have described as an ambush by a man who told a witness moments before the shooting started to watch the evening news because he was “going to be famous.”

Santiago will be laid to rest Friday after funeral services in Jersey City. Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to join mourners.

On Thursday, hundreds of officers from around the region paid their respects at a wake, joined by an equal number of members of the public who waited in line throughout the afternoon. Santiago was posthumously promoted to detective and awarded the police department’s medal of honor.

Friends and family said the 23-year-old Santiago had wanted to be a police officer since he was a youth. He had been on the job less than a year before his death.

Goodell, 32, grew up in Waldwick, the type of community where, several residents said Thursday, people often return after graduating from college and people who move there as adults wind up staying. He had served in the Marine Corps and had been on the police force for five years, and had been active in programs at the local high school.

Police officers “face dangers every single day,” Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said Thursday. “We saw what happened in Jersey City. We saw what happened to a Bergen County police officer a couple of months ago. Danger faces these police officers at any moment.”

Santiago’s killer, 27-year-old Lawrence Campbell, was fatally shot when police returned fire early Sunday in front of a 24-hour drug store. A sidewalk memorial to Campbell near his home prompted denunciations by Mayor Steven Fulop and Police Director James Shea. Fulop ordered the memorial taken down this week.

Ryon Cumberbatch, of New York, the driver of the truck that struck Goodell’s car, was charged with vehicular homicide Thursday and was being held on $25,000 bail. Molinelli said there was no evidence Cumberbatch tried to stop before the collision.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://nj1015.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on New Jersey 101.5 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!