“They had snipers on the roof of the store,” said a neighbor who did not want her name used. “Police were everywhere and they were looking for someone else.”
A statement issued by the Office of the Mayor said the police are looking for two other suspects in connection with another murder, but did not say they were related to this shooting.
But police sources said this shooting may have been orchestrated, with someone else making the call to say that a burglary was underway.
Three police vehicles were struck during the spray of bullets in a gun battle with Lawrence Campbell, who allegedly shot Santiago to death.
Also on the scene on Sunday were the Jersey City Fire Department Hazardous Material Team and a vehicle from the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Firefighters were seen washing down the sidewalk in front of the store after the vehicles had been towed away.
Pictured here are investigators from the Jersey City Police Department and others.
Neighbors said they were woken in the early morning hours by the army of police that swarmed over the rooftops of nearby buildings with a Jersey City SWAT team mounted on the green tile roof of the Walgreens.
Later, portions of Communipaw Avenue and Kennedy Boulevard within a block of the shooting scene were closed to traffic, causing backups on local streets including West Side Avenue.
Sources and police gave this account:
A short time before the shooting, Campbell entered the Walgreens asked the security officer where to purchase a greeting card. Campbell proceeded in that direction, left the store, and circled back.
According to a statement issued by the mayor’s office, Campbell allegedly had a knife, then allegedly assaulted the security officer, taking his weapon. Campbell did not rob or attempt to rob the Walgreens, but proceeded to wait for the Police Department to arrive – approximately four minutes. Surveillance cameras show Campbell walking outside and speaking to a witness, at which time he apologized for his conduct in Walgreens and told the witness to watch the news because he was going to be famous.
The first marked vehicle arrived at the scene with Officers Santiago and Martinez. Campbell approached the police vehicle at close range and allegedly fired into the vehicle with the door open, striking Officer Melvin Santiago in the head. He then fired three more times at a second marked police car striking the windshield, in attempt to kill two more officers.
Officers in the subsequent car and first car returned fire, striking Campbell and killing him. During the course of the investigation, police identified Lawrence Campbell as one of three suspects wanted in connection with a prior homicide in Jersey City.
The additional information was consistent with Police Department information received over the last week, and police also identified Daniel Wilson as another person of interest in the prior homicide. The JCPD have been applying high pressure and aggressively searching for Daniel Wilson for past three days.
For our earlier report, see links below.