Melvin Santiago had dreamed of being a police officer since he was a boy, seeking to follow in his uncle’s footsteps.
When Santiago accomplished his dream last December and joined the Jersey City force as a rookie officer, he asked to serve in the city’s toughest district. Seven months after he graduated from the academy, the 23-year-old was killed in the line of duty when a gunman shot him in the head.
The uncle who inspired Santiago to become a cop said in a statement that Santiago was a role model and mentor to his younger brother and cousins.
“It is a tragic situation when any officer is killed in the line of duty,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. “Melvin was an officer who represented everything one would want to see in a police officer. I know the entire city’s thoughts and prayers are with the Santiago family during this difficult time and we mourn together.”