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Lawmakers react after street gang threatens police

In response to the killing by police of a man who allegedly murdered a Jersey City cop early this week, the United Blood Nation street gang is reportedly threatening to target police officers in that city and other areas of the Garden State. The threats and the problem of gang violence have certainly gotten the attention of lawmakers in Trenton.

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Jersey City Police cruiser outside Sunday's shooting at Walgreen's
Jersey City Police cruiser outside Sunday’s shooting at Walgreen’s (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

“I can’t comment on the Jersey City situation as there are ongoing investigations, but the threat of gang violence is very real and it’s instances like this that shed light on the problem that still exists in New Jersey,” said Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee chairperson Annette Quijano (D-Union). “Unfortunately it (gang violence) is at the cost of lost lives and in this instance one of the lost lives was a police officer.”

Last Sunday, Melvin Santiago, a 23-year-old rookie police officer in Jersey City was killed in a shootout. Police shot and killed the man who murdered Officer Santiago, apparently prompting the threat from the United Blood Nation. Quijano said there is a possibility that a hearing could be convened at the State House to address gang violence when and if the time is right.

A wake for Santiago was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. His funeral is scheduled for Friday morning.

“I am in communication with Assemblyman Mainor who is doing his due diligence on the issue and will continue to speak with him to get all the facts and discuss how our committees can possibly come together to bring much needed attention to this matter,” Quijano said.

Assemblyman Charles Mainor (D-Jersey City) is not only chairman of the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee he is also a detective with the Jersey City Police Department. Quijano indicated it would make sense for her panel to come together with Mainor’s because she said essentially gang members are domestic terrorists.

“That is why we would talk about having a joint committee hearing,” Quijano said.

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