PERTH AMBOY – More than 200 people, including family members, fellow police officers and local officials attended a memorial on Saturday for Officer Thomas Raji, who died in the line of duty one year ago.
As part of the ceremony, a rendering of the planned Perth Amboy Fallen Police Officer Memorial was unveiled. The bronze sculpture, which will feature the likeness of Raji sitting and petting a Rottweiler with St. Michael, the patron saint of police officers, standing behind them holding a Perth Amboy police badge in one hand and the scales of justice in the other, will be placed in front of police headquarters in the upcoming months.
“This monument is the greatest honor of all,” said Perth Amboy police officer Marisol Raji, widow of the fallen officer. “I can’t explain it. I’m at a loss for words. This will be a constant reminder of my husband and all that he was,” she said.
The sculpture, which will be placed on a marble pedestal, was created by Brian P. Hanlon of Toms River. About half of the $150,000 cost for the sculpture has been raised.
Raji, 31, and officer Matthew Mercurio, 43, were driving a prisoner to the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick when their vehicle was struck on Aug. 22, 2008. Raji, who was driving, was killed in the crash.
Sean McGuirk, 24, of Colonia pleaded guilty this June to vehicular homicide in the death of Raji, two counts of assault by auto for injuring Mercurio and the prisoner, and driving while intoxicated.
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