FAIR LAWN, N.J. -- Pint glasses were still available for a $10 donation each to the Mary Ann Collura Scholarship Fund named for a Fair Lawn police officer who was shot and killed by a crazed ex-con 13 years ago this past weekend.
The glasses are from a special daylong event held at the local athletic center featuring retired Fair Lawn police officers tending bar for donations. It raised nearly $4,500.
Collura was shot and killed on the grounds of the Van Riper Ellis Broadway Baptist Church on River Road after coming to the aid of a fellow officer trying to arrest a murderous ex-con the night of Holy Thursday, April 17, 2003.
The 18-year veteran was Fair Lawn’s first female police officer and a shining light throughout the community.
Respected, admired and loved, Collura had a commendation file that contained a letter citing her professionalism from a motorist she’d ticketed.
She has a street, a rifle range and a post office, among other locations, named after her.
A Clifton colleague was chasing a speeding ex-con on Route 46 when the pursuit headed into Fair Lawn.
Collura was on her way when the driver — a 23-year-old drug dealer from Passaic named Omar Marti — lost control of his car, which ended up on the lawn of the church.
Marti tried to run, but the Clifton officer tackled him and was trying to pepper-spray him when Collura arrived.
Marti, desperate not to go back to prison, pulled a gun and fired, hitting Collura twice.
He then shot the other officer, got behind the wheel of Collura’s cruiser and drove over her while speeding off.
She was only 43.
Investigators from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office traced Marti to a town just outside Tampa, Fla., where he was killed in a shootout with area sheriff’s officers.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.