Editor’s Note: It’s understandable Lawrence Campbell’s family would be grieving but to have a shrine that glorifies his life of crime and to state that he should have killed more cops is terrible. Rest in peace, Melvin Santiago.
In a shocking turn of events, the make-shift memorial erected for a cop-killer in New Jersey is bigger than the shine set-up for the rookie police officer he murdered in cold blood over the weekend – an act he claimed would make him ‘famous’.
The temporary roadside memorial for Lawrence Campbell, who was shot dead by police in Jersey City after he killed 23-year-old Melvin Santiago on Sunday morning, boasts sickening tributes, even claiming that he should have killed more police.
Despite the death of Santiago, who had served only seven months on the force, Campbell’s widow, Angelique Campbell, said that she only wishes her husband had killed more officers before they gunned him down outside a Walgreens after he stole a security guard’s weapon – using it to shoot Santiago.
‘That’s how I feel. God forgive me, but that’s how I feel,’ Angelique Campbell told local reporters in New Jersey at the memorial for her convicted felon husband who was wanted in connection with a recent Jersey City homicide.
‘If that’s the case, he should’ve took more with him. If they 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.’
‘Rest easy,’ ‘Thug in peace’ and ‘See u on the other side’ were among the things friends wrote to Lawrence Campbell, who police say ambushed Officer Melvin Santiago early Sunday as he responded to an armed robbery call at a 24/7 pharmacy. Other officers returned fire, killing Campbell.
Visitors to the memorial would not give their names, but Barbara Jones, Campbell’s neighbor, told The Jersey Journey that the Campbell she knew was nothing like the man city officials say was lying in wait for officers to arrive before opening fire.
‘He was a good man. He looked out for everybody on the block,’ Jones told the newspaper.
Angelique Campbell, Campbell’s widow, told News 12 New Jersey on Sunday that she was sorry for Santiago’s family but that her husband should have killed more officers if they were planning to kill him. She later apologized for the comments.
She claimed her husband had a substance abuse problem.
She acknowledged his repeated run-ins with the law – state records show he had three prior drug convictions, but hoped he had turned over a new leaf after they married in February following his release from prison in January.
Speaking to the New York Daily News, Santigao’s stepfather, Alex McBride laid into Campbell’s wife and Pierre Monsanto, 58, the security guard who was attacked by Campbell.
‘He should have killed more? he asked. ‘Come on, is she serious?’
Turning his attention to Monsanto, McBride said, ‘I think he’s an idiot,’
‘How are you going to let someone come into your store, beat you up and take your gun?’
The furious parent also attacked the well-wishers traveling to the memorial to Campbell – which is larger than the one for Santiago.
‘He’s not a hero,’ McBride said of the killer, later calling him a “piece of s***’.
Campbell never even tried to rob the Walgreens on Sunday morning and instead lay in wait for police, telling a witness to watch the news because he was ‘going to be famous,’ authorities said.
Lawrence Campbell, 27, shot Officer Melvin Santiago in the head shortly after he and his partner arrived at the 24-hour Walgreens at around 4 a.m., Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. Other officers returned fire at Campbell, killing him.
Campbell, of Jersey City, was one of three suspects wanted by police for a prior homicide, Fulop said.
Fulop said Campbell was carrying a knife when he walked into Walgreens and asked for directions to the greeting card aisle. He assaulted an armed security guard at the store and snatched his gun, Fulop said. He waited for police to arrive, then shot Santiago with what police believe was the guard’s weapon.
‘Today was a horrible day for Jersey City,’ Fulop said.
Dozens of officers stood single file at the entrance of the hospital and saluted as Santiago’s flag-draped body was carried into an ambulance. A handful of younger officers consoled one another as they walked away. Santiago, 23, graduated from the police academy in December.
Fulop was there when Santiago’s body arrived at the hospital. As Santiago’s mother identified the body, Fulop said, she ‘just keep repeating the badge number and saying that it’s not possible.’
On Monday, Mayor Steven Fulop said the memorial and her comments aren’t representative of the city as a whole.