SOMERSET COUNTY POLICE ACADEMY GRADUATES IN THE LINE OF DUTY DEATHS
Police Officer Robert Nguyen
Jersey City Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Sunday, December 25, 2005
Officer Robert Nguyen and his partner, Officer Shawn Carson were killed when their patrol truck drove off of the Hackensack River Bridge and plunged 45-feet into the Hackensack River during a period of heavy fog at 8:20 pm. The officers had driven across the lift-bridge to place flares on the Newark side to warn drivers about a problem with the bridge's operations. As they set the flares, the bridge operator opened the span to allow a tugboat to pass underneath. The bridge's safety bar and warning lights, which had not been functional for two days, failed to activate when the span opened. As the officers returned to the Jersey City side of the bridge, their vehicle drove off of the open portion of the span and fell to the river below, killing both officers. Officer Carson was pulled from the water two hours after the incident and taken to University Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Officer Nguyen's body was found on December 29th by members of the New York City Police Department Dive Unit. His body was snagged under concrete pilings in 50 feet of water some 90 feet from where the truck went into the river.
Officer Nguyen had served with the Jersey City Police Department for 6 years.
Police Officer Matthew J. Melchionda
Watchung Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Officer Matthew Melchionda was killed in an automobile accident while responding to assist undercover detectives conducting a traffic stop. The detectives, who were assigned to the Auto Larceny Unit, were preparing to stop a suspicious vehicle and requested a marked patrol car. Officer Melchionda activated his emergency equipment and began to respond to the location. While he was traveling on Norwood Avenue he passed one vehicle that failed to completely yield to him. After passing the vehicle he came upon a second vehicle that was traveling slowly down the road. As he attempted to pass that vehicle it began to make a left turn. The vehicle struck Officer Melchionda's patrol car just behind the right front wheel, causing the patrol car to spin around and strike a tree on the driver's side door. Officer Melchionda was killed instantly. No charges were filed against the two drivers who failed to yield as Officer Melchionda passed them. Officer Melchionda had served with the Watchung Police Department for 6 years. He is survived by his wife, parents, and brother. His brother also serves on the Watchung Police Department.
SOMERSET COUNTY OFFICERS IN THE LINE OF DUTY DEATHS
Officer Manning T. Crow
Somerville Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Wednesday, February 1, 1899
Officer Crow succumbed to a gunshot wound received two weeks earlier when he surprised three burglars in a butcher shop on South Street at 0300 hours. He was shot once with a .38 caliber round which pierced his chest and lungs. He was able to walk back to the station and inform his fellow officers. He succumbed to the wound 12 days later. On February 22, 1899, one of the suspects was shot and killed by the postmaster in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, when he surprised the three during an attempted burglary. The other two suspects escaped. Officer Crow was one of the first officers appointed to the department and had served as chief until a chief could be elected. He was with the agency for ten years.
Officer Julius Sauter
Somerville Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Saturday, February 3, 1917
Officer Sauter was shot and killed after coming across a man who was about to commit suicide. The man had been drinking and was preparing to shoot himself when he suddenly turned the gun on Officer Sauter and shot him. The suspect then shot himself, dying two days later.
Chief of Police Charles Brendon Cavanaugh
Bernardsville Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Tuesday, September 8, 1931
Chief of Police Charles Cavanaugh was shot and killed from ambush. Chief Cavanaugh was investigating the scene of a fire when an intoxicated man who was angry that the Chief had issued his wife a summons for a motor vehicle violation, suddenly opened fire with a handgun. Chief Cavanaugh was shot several times and succumbed to his injuries shortly thereafter. The killer was tried for the murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Chief Cavanaugh was 29 years old at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife and child.
Officer Samuel Kriney
Bound Brook Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Thursday, October 29, 1931
On July 29, 1931, Officer Samuel Kriney was pursuing a speeding motorist on Route 28 when he collided with the bumper of another motorist, who was turning into the Standard Oil service station on Union Avenue. Officer Kriney was thrown 18 feet to the sidewalk and his motorcycle caught fire. He survived the initial accident, suffering a fractured left leg, a fractured left wrist, a crushed left foot, and a cut artery, but never made it out of the hospital. Officer Kriney developed erysipelas, sank into a coma, and died on Oct. 29, 1931. The driver of the vehicle was charged with atrocious assault and battery and his license was temporarily revoked.
Patrolman George Dunham & Patrolman John Lebed
Franklin Township (Somerset County) Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch: Sunday, July 10, 1960
Patrolman Dunham and Patrolman John Lebed were shot and killed while escorting a male to get bail money. The male had been arrested by the officers after they received a tip that he was carrying a concealed weapon and driving with a revoked license. After the arrest, the male was taken to the police station where he was booked and told he would have to pay a $250 bond. To obtain the funds, the officers escorted him to his home in New Brunswick where he then shot and killed both of them. The male fled and was later surrounded in Union Township. To avoid capture, he shot himself in the head, causing a severe wound. While on his deathbed, he admitted to the murders of Patrolman Lebed and Patrolman Dunham and two previous murders. Patrolman Lebed and Patrolman Dunham were honored by having a public park, Dunham-Lebed Park and two public roads, Lebed Drive and Dunham Street, named after them.