Hundreds Gather to Pay Tribute to Fallen Lakewood Officer - NBC New York

Hundreds Gather to Pay Tribute to Fallen Lakewood Officer



    Hundreds pay honor to the officer. (Published Monday, Jan. 31, 2011)

    About 300 friends, colleagues and even strangers gathered outside the Lakewood Police Department to honor slain officer Christopher Matlosz.

    They laid flowers and candles before a Lakewood Police cruiser bearing pictures of Matlosz.

    "He was a very good guy," said Joanne Haytas whose husband knew Matlosz from work.  "Always smiling and very well liked."

    Police say Matlosz was shot three times in the head by this man, Jahmell Crockam.  Authorities say Matlosz was patroling a residential neighborhood when he stopped to speak to Crockam.

    According to witnesses, the conversation was non-confrontational and that there were no warning signs to the violent shooting that followed.

    Fellow Lakewood officer Gary Przewornik spoke at the vigil.  "For those of us lucky enough to have known Chris. You would know that he loved his job and he loved his fiance Kelly. That's a pretty great combination."

    Officers from other departments also attended the vigil as a sign of solidarity, including officer Campbell Brown of the Jackson Police Department.

    "I thought it was important to support our brothers," said Brown, "and to support Chris and his family."

    Armed members of the SWAT team surrounded the square, keeping a watchful eye over the crowd.  The search for Crockham apparently upset leadership of the Bloods gang and according to sources led to an order to their members to kill other cops.  Officer Matlosz's colleague and best friend says that knowledge is unsettling.

    "Some people are worried," said Officer Edgardo Vega after a long pause.  "But this is what we signed up for."