Lakewood (NJ) Patrolman Christopher Matlosz, 27, made the ultimate sacrifice the afternoon of Friday January 14, when he was fatally shot while patrolling a residential area—the scene of numerous recent drive-by shootings.
At approximately 4:00 pm, Patrolman Matlosz drove up to a man on the street and began talking to him. Abruptly, the suspect removed a handgun from his person then released three shots directly at Patrolman Matlosz, inside his vehicle. Authorities said the five-year Lakewood (NJ) Police veteran was slain before he could grip his service weapon and return fire. “This community has been crushed,” Lakewood (NJ) Police Chief Robert Lawson said.
On Sunday morning (January 16), after an aggressive manhunt, authorities identified the 19-year-old suspect—Jahmell W. Crockam—at an apartment sixty miles from the crime scene. The suspect was detained and charged with murder and unlawful weapon possession; he is being held for $5 million bail.
Out of eight officer fatalities in the first month of the New Year, five have been due to gunfire. Patrolman Matlosz, who was engaged to be married, is the first law enforcement officer mortally shot on duty in Ocean County, as well as the fourth officer to be killed by gunfire in January 2011.
Wedding plans suddenly became funeral arrangements, and traumatized loved ones pulled together to appropriately honor Patrolman Matlosz. Hundreds of family members, friends, fellow officers, and members of the community gathered to mourn the overwhelming loss.
Patrolman Matlosz is survived by his fiancée, mother, and brother. “He was the best guy you’ll ever meet,” said Jeff DeMatteo, a friend and Captain with the First Aid Squad.
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