A rookie Jersey City police officer killed in the line of duty will be promoted to the rank of detective and given the department’s highest honor.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop says Officer Melvin Santiago will receive the department’s Medal of Honor. The promotion and ceremony will happen at his wake Thursday. His funeral is scheduled for Friday.
Gov. Chris Christie has ordered flags at state office buildings to be flown at half-staff Wednesday for Santiago.
The 23-year-old was killed in a shootout early Sunday while responding to a report of an armed robbery at a 24-hour drug store.
Meanwhile, officers from Jersey City and surrounding towns showed up Tuesday afternoon to relocate memorial items from the site where Santiago was fatally shot to the nearby West District precinct, where he had been assigned.
Officers, including some who had canceled vacations or come in on days off in a show of support, paid their respects in front of the memorial, set up on a table with a placard that read “End of Watch 7-13-14” under Santiago’s name.
West District Commander Capt. Michael J. Kelly said condolences have been pouring in from departments across the region. He described Santiago as a quiet, serious young man who had dreamed of being a police officer since childhood and who had just started to hit his stride after less than a year on the job.
Santiago was ambushed as he responded to an armed robbery call at an all-night Walgreen’s. Other officers returned fire, killing Lawrence Campbell.
Angelique Campbell, Campbell’s wife said that Campbell had over the past couple of weeks “got back with the wrong crowd.”