On January 14th, 2011, Lakewood police officer Christopher Matlosz was shot in the neck and head by 19 year old Jahmell Crockam. Officer Matlosz was dead on the scene.

Crockam was wanted on an outstanding warrant for illegal weapons possession and had told acquaintances that he would shoot a cop before he would go to jail. Officer Matlosz had pulled up beside Crockam to question him when Crockam pulled out a .38 and shot the officer in the neck and then leaned in the patrol car and shot him in the face and then in the temple to be sure he was dead.

All of this happened in broad daylight. Crockam was arrested and held in the Ocean County Jail where he confessed to killing Officer Matlosz to another inmate. Crockam was tried and found guilty, and then was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

He appealed the conviction with his public defender arguing that the warrants and his comment about shooting a cop before he would go to jail should have been excluded but the appellate court rejected that reasoning, finding’s that the warrants established motive and the comment established state of mind. Crockam was later found guilty of a previous murder, as well.

Officer Matlosz, 27, had just started on the day shift and was engaged to be married. His fiancée, Kelly Walsifer, was in the courtroom when the guilty verdict was delivered. A portion of the street that runs in front of the Lakewood Police Department was renamed “Matlosz Way” in his honor.

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