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Jersey City Detective Fatally Shot Worked To Reduce Gun Crime, Remembered For Compassion

Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals leaves behind his wife, Laura Seals, and five children.
Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals leaves behind his wife, Laura Seals, and five children. Photo Credit: Clifton PBA 36 Facebook

The outpouring of grief came in from every corner of the state and beyond, from fellow police officers in Jersey City and from the many who knew Joseph Seals growing up in North Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy, President Donald Trump and members of the public who never knew the Jersey City detective, who was fatally shot Tuesday, expressed sadness for his loss and gratitude for his service.

“We are heartbroken at the loss of yet another police officer killed in the line of duty,” wrote Carnine Disbro, the president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association.

“Detective Joe Seals won’t be returning to his family -- his wife and five children are in mourning,” he added.

The 39-year-old Bayonne native and North Arlington father of five was killed Tuesday afternoon near a Jersey City cemetery, touching off gun battles between two suspects and police. In addition to Seals and the suspects, three civilians were killed.

Another police officer was shot and two others were wounded by shrapnel, Mayor Steven Fulop said. All were expected to fully recover from their wounds.

Authorities said Seals, who had been a police officer in Jersey City for 15 years, distinguished himself early in his career. In 2008, he and his partner climbed a fire escape and crashed through a window to rescue a woman from a sexual assault as she was on the phone with police. He was cited for heroism, NJ.com reported.

Promoted to detective in 2017, Seals was part of the Cease Fire unit, which works to reduce gun crime. He excelled at the task, Chief of Police John Kelly told The New York Times.

“He was our leading police officer in removing guns from the street,” Kelly said. “Dozens of dozens of handguns he is responsible for removing from the street.”

"He was a great cop. I know everyone always says XYZ was great after they pass but in this case Joe's performance speaks for itself," Fulop, Jersey City's mayor, said. "He [probably] is responsible for more guns being removed from the streets than any. He was an officer that loved JC, was involved in the city, and one that everyone knew regardless of their precinct."

In a Facebook post not long ago, Seals asked for donations to the St. Joseph's School for the Blind in Jersey City, in memory of his late father, Heavy.com reported.

“My father, who passed away almost 2 years ago, was born blind and throughout his life needed assistance from schools like this and from the commission for the blind.

"These people do so much for adults and children with disabilities and you can help by donating. It means a lot to me. Thank you.”

Seals was the 35th Jersey City police officer killed in the line of duty.

Check back for service details. Click here to donate to his family.

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