Candlelight Vigil Held For Fallen NJ Police Officer
LAKEWOOD, NJ (CBS 2) - It was a night of tears and tributes on Monday as a New Jersey police officer shot in the line of duty was remembered.
A candlelight vigil was held for Lakewood Police Officer Christopher Matlosz Monday night, reports CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
Under a towering American flag, near the badge number and squad car, a sea of light braved the cold to pay tribute to Chris Matlosz.
“Chris is one of the guys that went above and beyond,” fellow Lakewood Officer Robert Anderson said. “He was a hustler, he was a go-getter.”
The go-getter was on the force for less than five years when his tour of duty came to a tragic end Friday. Matlosz had pulled up alongside a walking Jahmell Crockam and was questioning him when investigators say the 19-yearold shot Matlosz three times in the head.
Sources say Crockam’s nickname in the area was “Sav” – short for “savage” – but on Sunday, officers say Crockam surrendered peacefully.
“They caught him alive, and I commend them for restraining themselves,” Boyle said.
Investigators are still looking for a motive for the shooting. Crockam was wanted on a weapons charge dating back to late December, but it’s not clear if Crockam, or Officer Matlosz, knew of the outstanding warrant.
“Heartless, horrible act,” Moe Heineman, of Lakewood EMS, said. “One day you’re talking to him, next day he’s gone.”
On Monday night, hundreds – including Matlosz’s fiancée, Kelly Walsifer – came to pay tribute.
“[It’s] overwhelming. Chris was a very well-liked officer, always there for everybody else,” fellow Lakewood Police Officer Bob Redington said. “It’s hit everybody here in the department pretty hard.”
Fellow Lakewood Officer Edgardo Vega was going to be Matlosz’s best man.
“I’m going to miss him so much,” he said. “Chris loves life. He loves to live.”
It was a night of tears and hugs, a night where those who knew him came out to remember his life, a life cut short by one heartless act.
“He was one of the greatest people I will ever know in my entire life,” friend Nancy Hanlon said.
It wasn’t just loved ones who attended the vigil, though – even strangers went to pay their respects to a fallen hero.
“I do appreciate what the police are doing for our lives,” Lakewood resident Shaquinta Bovan said.
On Monday night, the fallen officer’s mother received a hug, while the woman with whom he planned to share his life was thankful for the support.
“It was very touching,” Walsifer said.
The vigil was just the beginning of what will be a long week of sad goodbyes for friends and family, as visitation for the slain officer will be on Wednesday, with the funeral scheduled for Thursday.
Crockam is being held on $5 million bail and is due in court on Tuesday.