By John Montone, 1010 WINS

The THUG who put a bullet through the head of Jersey City police officer Melvin Santiago wanted to be on television.

Moments before he ended the life of a 23-year old rookie cop who did more good in a single day than he did in a lifetime, the killer said to another man, “Watch the TV news. I’m going to be famous.”

He meant “infamous.”

Had I been reporting this story, I would not have mentioned his name, thereby denying him what he craved most. In fact, when I returned to work Wednesday morning I took to referring to the cold-blooded cop killer as the THUG.

And at least one 1010 WINS listener objected to that, tweeting that when I said “THUG,” I “really pushed my tongue against my teeth.” Yes, I did. And I’ll return to the tweeter shortly.

But first, what is going on in the Jersey City neighborhood where the THUG resided? There was the THUG’s wife on TV where the THUG so desperately wanted to be, telling a reporter that her THUG husband should have shot and killed more police officers. And then the neighbors and family of the THUG erected a sidewalk memorial in his honor. To celebrate what? A life of violence and evil? The death of a young innocent man whose father said, “They took a big piece of my heart?”

On Wednesday morning. I asked people who had lived in close proximity to the THUG about threats made by local gang members to kill more cops in retaliation for police shooting the THUG to death. Most of people who were out early on their way to work reacted the way we would expect law-abiding citizens to react. They were shaken by the naked threat of more violence. One man said of the gang members, “They fight with themselves, they fight with police… they fight with everyone.”

But one fellow, old enough to know better, not only defended the memorial to the THUG, but suggested that Officer Santiago died because cops have been killing the people who live in that neighborhood. What he did was justify murder.

And so, back to the tweeter who objected to my characterization of the cop killer as the THUG. Maybe the tweeter was right. I should have called him, the dead THUG.

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