Trooper Philip Joseph Lamonaco

Trooper Philip Joseph Lamonaco

New Jersey State Police, New Jersey

End of Watch Monday, December 21, 1981

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Philip Joseph Lamonaco

Trooper Philip Lamonaco was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Knowlton Township.

The incident occurred when he stopped two members of a radical environmental group, known as the United Freedom Front, on I-80. The suspects robbed banks to fund their radical operations which included bombing energy sites.

Trooper Lamonaco had disarmed one suspect when the other opened fire hitting him nine times. Trooper Lamonaco managed to return fire wounding the shooter. Trooper Lamonaco was found face down in the snow by a passing motorist and died in a hospital a short time later. The suspect's bullet riddled car was found six miles away along with blood stains of the shooter and both suspect's fingerprints. The shooter was apprehended, convicted of murder, several bombings, and sentenced to death. He died in prison in 2005. The other suspect was apprehended April 24, 1985, in Norfolk, Virginia. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life plus 58 years for bombing convictions. He died in prison July 31, 2019.

On July 19, 1983, Lieutenant Lester Pagano was killed in an automobile accident while investigating Trooper Lamonaco's murder. Lieutenant Pagano had finished following up on leads in reference to the case when the accident occurred.

Trooper Lamonaco had been employed with the New Jersey State Police for 11 years. He is survived by his wife and three children.

A seven mile portion of I-80 was renamed and dedicated in Trooper Lamonaco's memory.


  • Age 32
  • Tour 11 years
  • Badge 2663

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Died in prison

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I re-read about this hero’s last day. And of how he valiantly fought back.
You are not forgotten…

Officer John Carp USDOJ ret.
United States Department of Justice

December 22, 2021

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