In Jersey City, a final salute to a rookie cop who made the ‘ultimate sacrifice’

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JERSEY CITY (PIX11) --   As the pipes and drums played, an army of law enforcement from all over came to say goodbye to 23-year-old rookie officer Melvin Santiago.

The service inside St. Aloysius Catholic Church lasted for more than an hour.  It was packed with officials, from the city to the federal level, as well as with friends and, of course, family. Santiago was killed last Sunday in an ambush while responding to a call about an armed robbery.

Santiago's uncle, Frank DeFazio, himself a retired EMS officer for the Jersey City Police Department, remembered his nephew as the one he referred to as his fourth son.

"I am so very proud of this police officer and I admire all of your accomplishments for the way you lived your life.  You made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the price with honor."

Officer Melvin Santiago was shot and killed in the line of duty while investigating a robbery early Sunday. (Photo: Jersey City Mayor's Office)

Officer Melvin Santiago was shot and killed in the line of duty while investigating a robbery early Sunday. (Photo: Jersey City Mayor's Office)

Meanwhile, outside of the church, PIX11 News spoke with several residents who came to pay their respects.

For some it was a simple "God bless you." For others it was much more.

A glance to the skies showed it was a perfect day. A glance below painted a much more heart-wrenching picture as the casket of Officer Santiago exited the church.

Behind it stood a mother saying goodbye to her son.

On the streets a brotherhood saying goodbye to one of its own.

And all around, a city saying goodbye to a fallen hero.

 

2 comments

  • Corey Antczak

    Its never ”goodbye”, its always ”Until we meet again”. If we believe in God, there is never and end.

  • Bill Mckechnie

    Hey! Did anyone happen to see the Rev Al and company among the mourners? NO I didn’t think so.

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