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Fair Lawn Police Department, New Jersey
End of Watch Thursday, April 17, 2003
Officer Mary Ann Collura was shot and killed following a vehicle pursuit that ended in Fair Lawn at 2200 hours.
An officer from the Clifton Police Department had spotted a vehicle speeding through Clifton, New Jersey, and attempted to stop the vehicle. The vehicle fled at a high rate of speed while the passengers threw items out of the vehicle’s windows. The officer chased the vehicle through several towns and into Fair Lawn, where the car crashed on the front lawn of a church.
Officer Collura arrived on the scene minutes later to assist the officers involved in the chase. One of the occupants of the vehicle got out of the car and began waving his hands as if to surrender, but then the driver exited the vehicle and fled on foot. The officer from the Clifton Police Department was able to tackle the suspect in the rear lot of the church. As he was reaching for his mace, the suspect drew a firearm from his pocket and opened fire, striking Officer Collura four times, killing her. The Clifton Officer drew his firearm, but before he could fire, the suspect shot him too, striking him twice, once in the leg and once in the arm. The suspect then stole Officer Collura’s patrol car and fled. The Clifton Officer was able to empty his weapon at the fleeing car, but the suspect was not hit.
Two suspects were apprehended the next day and charged with murder. The suspect who shot the two officers fled to Florida where he was shot and killed by deputies in Sumter County on April 20. In that incident, the suspect opened fire on a Hernando County deputy as the deputy walked passed his car. Deputies chased him into Sumter County during a running gun battle until he crashed his vehicle. He attempted to steal another car before trying to commit suicide by shooting himself in the jaw. He was then shot and killed by deputies when he pointed his weapon at them.
Officer Collura had been employed with the Fair Lawn Police Department as a full time officer for 18 years, and had been a special officer for an additional two years. She was the agency’s first female officer. She is survived by her mother, brother, and two sisters.