After officer is slain, lawmaker seeks N.J. death penalty for cop killers

The fatal shooting of a Jersey City police officer Sunday has prompting a New Jersey lawmaker to again call for restoring the death penalty for killing police.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer says the ambush killing of officer Melvin Santiago, 23, shows why the legislature should act, said Assemblyman Ron Dancer.

“These criminals can have life in prison with health care, with three meals a day, with all the activities recreational and social,” said Dancer, R-Ocean. “I just think there needs to be a deterrent, and that deterrent is the death penalty.”

New Jersey abolished the death penalty in 2007.

Dancer’s bill would also restore capital punishment for the murder of a child and murders committed by terrorists.

Similar legislation has been proposed for the last three years but has failed to advance through the legislature.

Santiago died early Sunday, after he responded to a report of a robbery at a 24-hour drugstore.

Authorities say the gunman, Lawrence Campbell, never tried to rob the drugstore and instead lay in wait for police to arrive.

Mayor Steven Fulop said Campbell told a witness before he shot Santiago to watch the news because he was “going to be famous.”

Campbell, who was also wanted in connection with a recent homicide, was killed by police after shooting Santiago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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