Jan 14, 2011

New Jersey Police Officer Is Shot By a Pedestrian

Another unfortunate example of why guns should be outlawed...or realistically, ban bullets, let 'em keep their guns...

A 27-year-old police officer in the central New Jersey township of Lakewood was shot in the head and killed Friday afternoon by a man he had stopped for routine questioning, the authorities said.
Asbury Park Press
Christopher Matlosz
Colin Archer for The New York Times
The scene on Joe Parker Road in Lakewood, N.J., where an officer was killed on Friday in a shooting at point-blank range.
The officer, Christopher Matlosz, was driving his patrol car along August Drive in Lakewood about 4 p.m. when he pulled alongside a man in a black hoodie and began to ask him a question, Marlene Lynch Ford, the Ocean County prosecutor, said at a news conference Friday night.
A moment later, the man took a step back, pulled out a gun and fired three shots at Officer Matlosz at nearly point-blank range. The shooting happened so suddenly that Officer Matlosz did not even have time to draw his weapon, Ms. Ford said.
“That’s how quickly the whole thing occurred,” she said, calling the attack “an execution-style killing.”

“The officer was conducting a routine stop,” Ms. Ford said. “The exchange was not hostile, just a question-and-answer.”
As several people watched in horror, the gunman then turned around and ran into a wooded area, she said. A SWAT team and other Lakewood police officers descended on the scene, closing off streets throughout northeast Lakewood and opening an extensive manhunt for the shooter, who was still on the loose late Friday.
Officer Matlosz, who had been a police officer in Lakewood since August 2006, was engaged to be married and was still in his first week of working evenings for the department after having worked the overnight shift for several years. He was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune and was pronounced dead at 4:57 p.m. His fiancée was there with him.
Ms. Ford said a number of people who witnessed the shooting immediately told the police what they saw and volunteered to help. They described the gunman as a stocky black man in his late teens or early 20s and about 5 feet 6 inches tall. He was said to have “puffy cheeks and sunken eyes” and was wearing pants that were riding so low that his gray boxer shorts were exposed, Ms. Ford said.
It was unclear what Officer Matlosz asked the man or what prompted him to open fire. But in an interview after the news conference, Ms. Ford said the gunman “might have been somebody that was known to him.”
The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association announced a $40,000 reward for information leading to the killer’s arrest and conviction.
Lakewood, a town of over 70,000 near the Jersey Shore in Ocean County and home to one of the country’s largest yeshivas, has an annual murder figure that typically hovers in the low single digits. But the town has seen a rise in tension and bias crimes in recent years as its growing Orthodox Jewish population and smaller black and Hispanic communities have clashed.
Officer Matlosz, who lived in Manchester Township, grew up near Lakewood in Monmouth County, where he went to Howell High School and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Brookdale Community College in 2003. On his MySpaceprofile, he described himself as a “loyal, honest, hardworking guy” who loved his job because he was “an adrenaline junkie.” He said he pictured himself retiring in two decades with a healthy pension and a lakeside home.
“I’ll be retired sitting on a lake with a jack n ginger, a rifle and a cigar,” he wrote.
Officer Matlosz was passionate about working out, carpentry and guns — one of his goals was to obtain a hunting license. He also described his grandfather — a former captain of the Elizabeth Fire Department — as one of his heroes, and he made it clear that he hoped to be like him some day.
“He flew in the Marines in the rotary bubble gunner in a B-25 bomber,” he wrote, “a man who everyone wanted to be around, and gave himself to everyone else.”
Besides his fiancée, Officer Matlosz is survived by a mother and brother, the authorities said.
The shooting was the second in the last two years to take a toll on the Lakewood Police Department. In September 2009, a gunman opened fire on a group of officers who burst into a home during a drug and gun raid about six miles from where Mr. Matlosz was killed. A patrolman was shot in the face and a lieutenant was hit in the foot; both survived. Two other officers who were shot were not seriously injured. The man who was caught and identified as the shooter, Jaime Gonzalez, was charged with attempted murder. He is awaiting trial.

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