Trooper Philip Joseph Lamonaco

Trooper Philip Joseph Lamonaco

New Jersey State Police, New Jersey

End of Watch Monday, December 21, 1981

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.

Several suspects were apprehended and two of them were sentenced to death for Trooper Lamonaco's murder. A third suspect was sentenced to 30 years in prison on federal charges. He was also sentenced to life on state charges, which will start when he is released from federal custody.

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 Two sentenced to death

Most Recent Reflection

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I was only 13 years old the day that Tpr. Lamonaco was gunned down on the side of a lonely, rural NJ interstate. It was about that same time that I had decided I too wanted to one day become a law enforcement officer, & serve my community, just as Trp. Lamonaco had done before me. I vividly remember the feelings of both sadness & anger when I learned that this decorated Trooper had been cut down in his prime by a couple of radical, domestic terrorists. I used to think often of what more he could have accomplished, & how high he could have risen in the ranks of the NJSP, if not for that fateful encounter that cost him his life.

Now retired, after 25 years as a NJ municipal police officer, I again often think of Trp. Lamonaco & the other thousands of my brothers & sisters in blue who were denied the retirement I'm enjoying because of their unwavering allegiance to their oath, & a commitment to something bigger than themselves.

God bless & RIP.

Sgt. Gregory Paul (Ret.)
Woodbridge Twp. PD

December 21, 2017

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