Jersey City shooting: Tunnel to Towers to pay off Det. Joseph Seals' mortgage

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced Friday it will pay off the mortgage of the police detective who was gunned down in Jersey City this week.

Detective Joseph Seals died in the line of duty in Bay View Cemetery Tuesday, murdered by two suspects who went on to kill three others in a Jewish supermarket before being killed by police, according to authorities.

Seals was a 13-year veteran of the department and leaves behind a wife and five children.

"We want to thank the Tunnels to Towers Foundation for everything they've done," Seals' cousin Justin Smith said. "No amount of money will ever bring Joey back, but to lift the burden of their mortgage off of (wife) Laura so she can grieve and raise her children means more to the family than anyone will ever know."

Seals came out of Jersey City's South District, one of the busiest police precincts in the state. He was promoted to detective in November of 2017 and was assigned to the city's cease-fire unit.

A viewing for Detective Seals will be held Monday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at McLaughlin Funeral Home on Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City. Funeral services will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Aedan's Church on Bergen Avenue in Jersey City.

The 40-year-old North Arlington resident was a leading police officer in removing guns from the street, and authorities say dozens and dozens of handguns were removed from the street under his watch.

"We believe he was killed while trying to interdict these bad guys on Garfield Avenue," JCPD Chief Michael Kelly said.

WATCH: Detective Seals and family honored by Tunnels to Towers Foundation

Seals is believed to be the 35th Jersey City police officer killed in the line of duty.

"It's a tough day for Jersey City," Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said after the shooting. "Joe is somebody who is involved in the city, who officers in other precincts knew who he was, because he was a good cop."

In addition to his work with the illegal guns unit, Seals was cited for heroism in a Christmas Eve 2008 incident in which he and another officer burst through the window of a home and stopped a sexual assault that was being carried out against a 41-year-old woman.
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Lucy Yang has details on the Jersey City detective killed in the line of duty Tuesday.

"We cried with the family," Fulop said. "It's the hardest thing you ever have to see. No one expected Detective Seals not to return home. I'm sure his children expected him to return home."

Seals used to work at the Hudson County Jail and currently had a second job in the flooring business to help support his family.

But his dream was always to be a police officer.

"He was an excellent family man," neighbor Joe Vuocolo said. "He loved his children, did everything with them. He was a hard worker."

The Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association has set up an official GoFundMe page in support of the Seals family, which had raised nearly $400,000 as of Friday morning. The State Police PBA is also warning potential donors to be aware of fake sites that may claim to be the same thing but are actually scams.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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