Suspect Is Charged in Killing of New Jersey Officer

January 15, 2011

LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Even as the authorities expanded their search for a man wanted in the killing of a police officer in this central New Jersey town, charges were filed against the suspect on Saturday.
Marlene Lynch Ford, the Ocean County prosecutor, warned that the suspect, Jahmell W. Crockam, 19, “is at large and the public is advised he is dangerous.”
The State Policeman’s Benevolent Association was offering up to $117,000 for information leading to the capture of Mr. Crockam, who was charged with murder and possession of a firearm.
The officer, Christopher Matlosz, 27, was shot in the head on Friday afternoon after he stopped a pedestrian for questioning on August Drive.
Officer Matlosz was pronounced dead just before 5 p.m. at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune.
Ms. Ford also said her office had charged Mr. Crockam, who lives in Lakewood, with possession of a rifle and hollow-point bullets on Dec. 29 and set his bail at $150,000.
According to Ms. Ford, Mr. Crockam went by the nickname “Sav,” short for “Savage.”
A group of young men who live in a townhouse development near the scene of the shooting said that Mr. Crockam had earned his nickname.
“He’s a real rough guy,” said one young man who declined to give his name. “Real rough.”
As an extensive manhunt in Lakewood continued, Ms. Ford said her office had contacted law enforcement agencies up and down the East Coast.
She added that Mr. Crockam was the only suspect and that it was not believed that anyone had helped him elude the police.
A 39-year-old man who said he had witnessed the shooting described how Officer Matlosz pulled up alongside a pedestrian wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans. The witness said the officer remained in his patrol car and the two spoke briefly before the pedestrian drew a gun and fired point-blank.
“It was a normal conversation, and the man just shot the officer,” said the man, who declined to give his name.
Charles Cobb, 32, a construction worker who lives in the Golfview Townhouses, a development just blocks from the shooting, said officers searched every home early Friday evening and returned later with a photograph of the suspect. Mr. Cobb added that numerous people with outstanding warrants were arrested.
“They came in with their guns drawn telling everybody to get on the floor, asking if they could search the house,” he said.
Officer Matlosz, who lived in Manchester Township, had worked for the Lakewood department since 2006.
The department’s chief, Robert Lawson, praised Officer Matlosz as “outstanding in all respects, dedicated, well liked and just an exemplary officer all around.”
“We are like a family,” he added. “This is like someone in your family being killed.”

  Copyright. 2011. New York Times Company. All Rights Reserved

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