Jersey City shooting: Wake held for Detective Joseph Seals

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Jersey City shooting: Wake Monday for Detective Joseph Seals
Toni Yates has the details.

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A wake was held Monday for the Jersey City police officer who was killed in the line of duty last week.

Family, friends and fellow officers paid their respects to Detective Joseph Seals, a 13-year veteran of the force who leaves behind a wife and five children who no longer have their father.

"It's terrible when you hear, 'I want my daddy, I want my mommy,'" Chaplain Greg Boyle said. "It really strikes at the heart...It's also important that we say good and evil is a challenge that humanity has always faced. And when you accept the job wearing the badge that there may be a day when the most horrible regretful situation happens in your own house."

Hundreds attended the viewing, which took place from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at McLaughlin Funeral Home on Pavonia Avenue in Jersey City.

A funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Aedan's Church on Bergen Avenue, with burial to follow.

Det. Seals was gunned down at 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.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced Friday that it would pay off the Seals' mortgage, and an official official GoFundMe page in support of the Seals family had raised more than $500,000 as of Monday morning.

"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."

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

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.

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.

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.

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 Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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