Thirty-nine year old Det. Joseph Seals is one of six people who died in the aftermath of an hours-long standoff in Jersey City on Tuesday. He was a husband and a father of five kids — the oldest around 15 years old, the youngest just a baby. He served on the Jersey City police force for 17 years and was promoted to detective two years ago.
On Tuesday, he responded to a situation in a Jersey City cemetery and as he confronted one suspect he was shot by another. Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly called him one of the best.
“There’s no better cop for interdicting firearms and weapons. And he’s been responsible for significant crime drops in violent crime. And no cop in the city has taken more guns off the street in the last couple years than Joe Seals,” said Kelly.
He said Seals was continually putting his life in danger to get the job done.
“And he did that job with vim and vigor and was very successful at it. And the people in Jersey City are very, very proud of him. And the fact that he gave the ultimate sacrifice is heartbreaking to us,” Kelly said.
Seals was born in Bayonne and lived with his family in North Arlington. Mayor Dan Pronti describes the small town as a tight knit community and said Seals was an important part of it.
“Joe was a member of our community, as we all know, and he and his family, they were all part of it. He was a hard working police officer. He did work on the side. He made extra money to provide for his family. He then also found time to contribute back to his community by volunteering his time at all the local schools. Just an all around good guy. Everything is just a complete tragedy and the entire community is grieving right now along with the Seals family,” said Pronti.
“Yesterday, Det. Seals woke up in the morning to do what he’s been doing for the past 17 years. Going out in the street to protect Jersey City citizens. And he paid the ultimate price,” said United States Attorney Craig Carpenito.
At a press conference Wednesday, Carpenito said there have been fake GoFundMe accounts created in Seals’ name.
“But on top of the tragedy of yesterday, we found out last night that a reprehensible group of people are online trying to profiteer off of the misfortune of others. No words, I can’t find the words of how disgusting this conduct is. What I can tell you is we’re looking at it. We’re investigating it. And if anyone has any information about any of these pages, or if you have donated money to any pages that were set up last night for any of the victims, you should contact the FBI,” Carpenito said.
As of Tuesday night, no legitimate accounts accounts were set up. Pronti said the community is already planning ways to support the family, for example by coordinating meal plans. It was evident Wednesday how emotional Tuesday’s shooting is for everyone who knew Seals — from neighbors too choked up to speak on camera, to the friends and family arriving at the house grieving.
One thing is certain, Seals made an indelible impact on his community and within the Jersey City Police Force before his end of watch Tuesday.