Memorial Erected for Alleged Killer of Rookie Cop

NJ mayor fuming that residents are honoring suspect, not slain officer

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 15, 2014 12:08 PM CDT

(Newser) – Mourners are coming to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial made out of candles, balloons, and heartfelt notes days after rookie officer Melvin Santiago was gunned down while responding to an armed robbery call. But the memorial—which also includes empty liquor bottles and the message “Thug in Peace” scribbled on a T-shirt—is for his alleged killer, not 23-year-old Santiago, reports AP. City officials are outraged at the Jersey City, NJ, tribute to Lawrence Campbell, who was killed by officers returning fire during the Sunday incident outside a Walgreens. "The people who put up a memorial to a cowardly murderer who shot somebody in the head without giving him a chance are not representative of the people who live" in that neighborhood, the city’s police chief says.

Tensions are running high since Santiago's murder: AP reports that a Jersey City police officer shot a man this morning after he allegedly attacked the officer with a fence post. And the families and friends of Santiago and Campbell are also speaking out about the killing and the memorial. The New York Daily News reports that Campbell’s wife, Angelique, told a local news station, “If they [police] was going to stand over my husband and shoot him like a f---ing dog, he should’ve took all of them the f--- out”—comments the Jersey City mayor called "ignorant" and "disgusting." (Angelique later told the News that she was sorry for her husband’s actions and that he had a substance abuse problem.) Santiago’s stepfather says that he thinks Campbell is a “piece of s---,” that the Walgreens security guard whose gun Campbell reportedly stole to shoot Santiago was an “idiot,” and that the people who erected the memorial are "ignorant." A smaller, temporary memorial has been set up for Santiago outside the Walgreens where he was killed.

A pedestrian stands at a memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago. Campbell was also killed at the scene.
A pedestrian stands at a memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago. Campbell was also killed at the scene.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
T-shirts covered with written messages are taped on a wall at memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago, Monday, July 14, 2014, in Jersey City, NJ.
T-shirts covered with written messages are taped on a wall at memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago, Monday, July 14, 2014,...   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A t-shirt covered with written messages are taped on a wall at memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago, Monday, July 14, 2014, in Jersey City, NJ.
A t-shirt covered with written messages are taped on a wall at memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago, Monday, July 14, 2014,...   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
A pedestrian stands at a memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago, Monday, July 14, 2014, in Jersey City, NJ.
A pedestrian stands at a memorial to Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot and killed 23-year-old Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago, Monday, July 14, 2014, in Jersey City, NJ.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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News 12 New Jersey video containing excerpts from interview with Angelique Campbell.   (YouTube)

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