Jersey City first responders, as well as local and county officials, paid tribute to slain Police Det. Melvin Santiago on the three year anniversary of his death.
“Today is Melvin’s third anniversary and I’ve never been to Walgreens, the site where he took his last breath,” said Cathy McBride, Santiago’s mother at a memorial at Liberty State Park.
“But, I went this morning during roll call and the support that was there for him, and the kind words that Chief [Michael] Kelly had spoken to him, and the message that he had to all the other officers about being safe and how there’s a target on everyone’s back when yous walk out to do your job everyday … we all know too well because that’s what happened to Melvin.”
McBride was joined by numerous friends and family members to honor her late son, who was only 23 years old when he was gunned down in the Walgreens parking lot on Communipaw Avenue and John F. Kennedy Boulevard on July 13th, 2014.
Two years ago, the city named the West District Police Station after Santiago, which includes a bronze statue of his likeness.
“This is all Melvin wanted to do and for six short months he got to do it and he loved it – and I’m glad he got to do something for a short time that he loved [rather] than do something for so many years that he hated,” reflected McBride.
“But I just wish, you know, it would’ve never happened … and that he was here and we never had to do this.”
Hoboken Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), a retired police captain, held a moment of silence for New York Police Officer Miosotis Familia – who was gunned down earlier this month – before presenting McBride with a medallion on behalf of the county.
“On behalf of Hudson County, which Melvin obviously belonged to Jersey City but he belonged to all of us and I think I speak proudly as a police officer and as an elected official, we want you to have this as something else to mark Melvin’s memory,” said Romano.
After the short program concluded, friends and family members threw blue and white flower pedals into the Hudson River as the Jersey City and Port Authority Police Departments had their pipes and drums sections play “Amazing Grace.”