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Police: Jersey City shootings part of job's danger

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Associated Press

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - Authorities in Jersey City, already on edge following the ambush-killing of a rookie police officer over the weekend, said an officer shot a man Tuesday morning who authorities say had attacked him and his partner with a sharpened fence post.

The man, whose name was not released, was taken to a hospital and was expected to undergo surgery for non-life-threatening injuries, the prosecutor's office said. The police officers were also being treated.

Meanwhile, officers from Jersey City and surrounding towns showed up Tuesday afternoon to relocate memorial items from the site where Officer Melvin Santiago was fatally shot to the nearby West District precinct, where he had been assigned.

Officers, including some who had canceled vacations or come in on days off in a show of support, paid their respects in front of the memorial, set up on a table with a placard that read "End of Watch 7-13-14" under Santiago's name.

West District Commander Capt. Michael J. Kelly said Tuesday's shooting was not related to officers being in a heightened state of alert in the wake of Santiago's killing.

"Our officers are always in a high-alert state. That's part of our profession. It's a dangerous profession," he said.

Kelly said condolences have been pouring in from departments across the region. He described Santiago as a quiet, serious young man who had dreamed of being a police officer since childhood and who had just started to hit his stride after less than a year on the job.

According to a preliminary investigation of Tuesday's shooting, two officers with the emergency services unit saw the 25-year-old man at about 2:30 a.m. and ordered him to drop the fence post, the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

Authorities said the man threw the post through a passenger-side window of the emergency services truck, hitting an officer in the head. The man then reached through the window and grabbed the officer's rifle, authorities said. The two struggled for the rifle, which discharged through the vehicle's door and struck the man, officials said.

The officers exited the vehicle and ordered the man to the ground. One officer opened fire, striking the man, after authorities said the man refused to show his hands and hid a hand in his waistband.

Santiago was ambushed Sunday as he responded to an armed robbery call at an all-night Walgreen's, authorities said. Other officers returned fire, killing Lawrence Campbell.

Angelique Campbell, Campbell's widow, said she doesn't plan to restore a memorial to him that went up in their neighborhood but was taken down by Tuesday morning.

She had told News 12 New Jersey on Sunday that she was sorry for Santiago's family but that her husband should have killed more officers if they were planning to kill him. She later apologized for the comments, which Fulop called "ignorant" and "disgusting."

"Both families are hurt. Let this cop be laid to rest peacefully. Let Lawrence be put to rest peacefully. That's it," Angelique Campbell told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "There's no back-and-forth. I don't want to argue with no cops, I don't want to fight with no cops. I just want to put him in the ground, he's gone, that's it."

She said that Campbell had slipped back into an old drug habit over the past couple of weeks and "got back with the wrong crowd."

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said he ordered the Campbell memorial removed Monday night. The makeshift collection included balloons, candles, empty liquor bottles and messages of love from friends scrawled on T-shirts taped to a brick wall.

"I had it taken down last night," the mayor said in a statement. "I am not going to let a few residents pretend like they express the views of a great city like Jersey City."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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