The New Jersey boy who was struck and killed by a police cruiser dreamed of a career in law enforcement, according to his family.
The mother of 10-year-old Matthew McCloskey told police her son wanted to be a police officer and even attended a Junior Police Academy Camp in June.
“He wanted to be a police officer,” said Franklin Township Police Chief Michael Rock. “He has a connection to the police department.”
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Matthew was crossing Delsea Drive (Route 47) Sunday night in Franklin Township on his way to a sleepover with two friends, when he was struck by a Franklin Township patrol car, prosecutors said. A neighbor told NBC10 the boys had just left her front yard, where they were looking at her Christmas decorations.
The driver, Patrolman Nicholas Locilento, 23, was responding to a call for assistance with an unruly juvenile in a township home, according to officials.
Family and witnesses claimed Locilento was traveling at a high rate of speed and did not have his lights or siren on. Authorities have not yet confirmed this however.
Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Bernie Weisenfeld said each police department in New Jersey sets its own standard operating procedures for when an officer should activate a cruiser's lights and siren. He said these SOPs are based on guidelines put out by the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.
Patrolman Locilento has been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues.
"While we certainly appreciate the public's interest in this tragic event, it would be premature in the course of the investigation and unfair to the McCloskey and Harding families and the police officer involved to provide partial details before all the facts are known,” said Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton.
In a statement, family members described Matthew, the youngest of four children, as “the sweetest, most loving boy.”
“In his short life Matthew touched so many with his warm heart and compassion,” the family wrote. “He was also known as a jokester, he loved making people laugh. He had many friends and enjoyed playing football. He played for the Monroe Township Braves; he attended the elementary school in Monroe Township before moving to Franklinville where he was a proud 5th grade student at Reutter School. To all who knew him, his beautiful heart and kindness shined through in the community."
A memorial vigil for Matthew will be held New Year’s Day at 7 p.m. at the Franklin Township Sports Complex on 500 Pennsylvania Avenue in Franklinville, New Jersey.
A viewing for Matthew will be held Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Our Lady of Peace Parish/St. Mary's Church on Main Street and Carroll Avenue in Williamstown, New Jersey. A mass of Christian burial will then be celebrated at 12:30 p.m.
Donations to the family can be made to the following:
- TD Bank @Matthew McCloskey Fund
- Bell-Hennessey Funeral Home, 420 South Main Street, Williamstown, NJ 08094 Attn: Pat Hennessey/Matt McCloskey