End of Watch: July 13, 2014
Officer Melvin Santiago was in the first police car to arrive at the scene - a Walgreens on Communipaw Avenue - shortly after 4 a.m.
An assailant who had apparently attacked an armed security guard at the drug store and taken his gun used the weapon to open fire on the marked police car, Fulop said at a news conference. Santiago, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was struck in the head.
Other officers arriving at the scene returned fire, and the shooter was killed. Santiago was declared dead at Jersey City Medical Center.
Santiago is the first Jersey City officer killed in the line of duty since Detective Marc DiNardo died in July 2009 during an apartment raid to search for suspects in a robbery.
"It is a tragic situation when any officer is killed in the line of duty," Fulop said in a statement. "Melvin was an officer who represented everything one would want to see in a police officer. I know the entire city's thoughts and prayers are with the Santiago family during this difficult time."
Jean Belviso, who has been delivering newspapers for 10 years, said she was driving through the Walgreens parking lot when she said saw a man wearing burgundy sweatpants and a baseball cap walk out of
Walgreens. A police cruiser pulled up in front of the store, and the suspect began shooting, the 61-year-old Belviso said.
"We thought he was running, coming toward us," said Belviso, who was riding along with a friend. "He kept on shooting."
Bullets flew through the cruiser's windshield; other police cars appeared on scene, and officers fired at him, Belviso said. The suspect was shot multiple times, and officers slapped handcuffs on him, she said.
Four hours after the shooting, the suspect's body remained on the ground, about 20 feet from Walgreens' entrance, lying next to a police cruiser that had its back window shot out. Police placed a tent over the body.