A rookie Jersey City cop was killed in a cold-blooded ambush outside a Walgreens Pharmacy early Sunday before a brief standoff that also ended in the gunman’s death. Officer Melvin Santiago and his partner rolled up to the store to answer a robbery call at 4:09 a.m. when the gunman came out of nowhere and blasted Santiago in the head as he sat in the passenger seat.
Newspaper deliveryman Jean Belviso had just arrived at Walgreens when he spotted the suspect — wearing burgundy sweatpants and a baseball cap — walk out of the Walgreens and toward the police cruiser. Santiago was rushed to Jersey City Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The gun used to kill Santiago belonged to the store security guard, who had previously been attacked by the robber.
Santiago was the first cop killed in the line of duty in the city since July 2009. Detective Marc DiNardo was killed five years ago during a raid on an apartment searching for suspects in a robbery. Responding cops shot and killed the gunman, officials said. His body remained in the Walgreens parking lot for hours, about 20 feet in front of the entrance.