January 15, 2011 by staff
He was a quiet back-and-take exchange of questions and answers Friday afternoon, is not hostile or confrontational.
That changed in an instant, when the pedestrian pulled a handgun from his loose clothing, a step back and fired three shots into the officer, who has never had a chance.
Patrolman Christopher Matlosz collapsed at the wheel of his patrol car, mortally wounded, his gun still in his holster. The gunman fled, triggering a massive manhunt by land and air, which continued Saturday, with authorities vowing he would soon be caught and punished.
Scores of officers on foot, in cars and helicopters crisscross the area where the shooting took place; a neighborhood near the shore, where Jersey Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said several drive-by shootings took place.
She called the shooting “an execution-style killing.”
The 27-year Matlosz was transferred off the night shift a week ago. He was engaged to marry next year, and his fiancee rushed to hospital where he died less than an hour after being shot.
The suspect was described as a black male in his early 20s or late teens, 5-feet-6 or 5-foot-7, squat, sunken eyes, and cheeks swollen. He wore a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans slung so low that gray boxers were visible, according to a witness account to the police.
Matlosz was conducting a “routine stop” the suspect, chatting with him for a few minutes, Ford said, leading authorities to believe that both can be read with each other before shooting.
While the suspect fled on foot, a neighbor called 911 just after 16 hours to report an officer down. Matlosz was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he died in the trauma unit.
The State Police Benevolent Association’s offers and 40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect, as the group’s spokesman, Jim Ryan.
Lakewood is a multiethnic community of 60,000 inhabitants located 54 miles east of Philadelphia and 47 miles south of New York.
Matlosz joined the department August 14, 2006, and lived near Manchester Township, according to Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson.
“Chris was one of our agents the most popular,” said Laweson. “You could say he was the best of us. He was very devoted to his work. I have a lot of praise about him by the public. ”
Matlosz death was the second shooting involving a police officer Lakewood recent years.
In September 2009, another Lakewood police officer, Patrolman Jonathan Wilson, was seriously injured when he was hit in the face during a raid of firearms and drugs. Three other policemen were killed, but received fewer injuries.
A suspect in this case faces attempted murder charges.
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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