Teen Accused in Officer's Slaying Due In Court
ahmell Crockam, 19, was arrested in Camden this morning on charges he fatally shot a Lakewood police officer during a traffic stop on Friday.
The Star-Leger via YellowBrix
January 18, 2011
LAKEWOOD – The teenager accused in last week’s execution-style killing of a Lakewood police officer is due in court later today.
Jahmell Crockam, 19, arrested Sunday morning after a massive 40-hour manhunt, is scheduled to appear in Superior Court in Toms River to face murder and weapons charges in connection with the death of Officer Christopher Matlosz.
At the same time, authorities are continuing to investigate the Friday shooting, as well as a complaint from two Toms River men who allege police abused them during the search for Crockam.
An autopsy indicates that Matlosz, 27, died from three shots to the head, said Michael Mohel, the deputy chief of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
He also confirmed investigators were looking into the shooting of Crockam’s younger brother last month and whether it may have been linked in any way to the officer’s slaying.
“We are covering any investigative avenue,” he said.
AP | In this undated photo provided by Jeffery Hanlon, Lakewood Police Officer Christopher Matlosz is seen in a vehicle.
According to Lakewood police, Crockman’s brother, Raheem Montgomery, was shot at about 4:19 p.m. on Dec. 13 in the parking lot of the Plaza II Apartments on John Street in Lakewood. Montgomery, 17, was shot twice while inside a van and was driven in the same van to Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, the officer said. Kristine Brown, a hospital spokeswoman, said Montgomery was treated and released the same day.
Matlosz was the first police officer in memory fatally shot in the line of duty in Ocean County, Mohel said. A candlelight vigil was held outside Lakewood police headquarters Monday evening.
Authorities say Matlosz stopped to question Crockam Friday afternoon. During a brief exchange, Crockam took a step back, pulled a gun and shot Matlosz once, police said. He then stepped forward and fired two more shots, authorities said.
Crockam was arrested in a Camden apartment at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday after a manhunt that involved more than 100 officers in several states.
Crockham had been considered a fugitive since Dec. 29 when authorities obtained an arrest warrant for him on separate weapons charges.
Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said his department’s Office of Professional Standards was looking into a complaint that Toms River officers roughed up two men stopped in connection with the Matlosz investigation.
The two men, Delovi Canales, 44, and Alex Valcort, 30, both of Toms River, said in an interview Monday that they were stopped while riding on Route 9 in Toms River in Canales’ 2007 Cadillac SPS sedan just after 1 a.m. Saturday.
The men said they pulled over after a searchlight shone through their rear window.
Then, they said, six Toms Rivers officers surrounded the car, including two with automatic rifles pointed at them.
They said Canales was dragged from the driver’s seat, pinned face down to the ground with an officer’s knee on his head and handcuffed behind his back. A short time later, they said, Canales was then hoisted on his feet by the handcuffs.
Donald Stanzione, the lawyer for the two men, said he intended to file a lawsuit in federal court in Trenton charging that the men were denied their civil rights.
Canales said he was later diagnosed at Community Medical Center in Toms River with a separated clavicle.
After police checked their paperwork and released the pair, officers told them that their pearl white Cadillac matched a description of the car Matlosz’s killer had been using.
“I feel bad because a human life was taken,” Canales said of the slain officer. “I have sympathy for the cop. He’s somebody’s son, just like I am, but that doesn’t mean anyone should be treated like I was.”
A wake for Matlosz will be held today at the Lakewood Funeral Home in Howell.