Coronavirus News: Union City police detective dies from COVID-19

UNION CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 20-year veteran of the Union City Police Department has died from COVID-19.

Officials announced the death of Det. Alex Ruperto on Thursday. Ruperto, 52, grew up in Union City. He was one of the original members of the Emergency Services Unit and was most recently assigned as a detective in the training division.

"Alex was kind, patient, soft-spoken, and genuine. My heart breaks for his family and his UCPD family, especially in ESU, as they knew him best," Chief Nichelle Luster said. "It is devastating that his family and co-workers who could not be by his side when he passed. Alex was a good person and an exceptional officer, and I know we will all remember him fondly."

Union City is the second-most densely populated city in the country, where more than 1,300 of its more than 68,000 residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

"My heart is heavy today after learning of Alex's passing," Mayor Brian Stack said. "I have always known Alex to be a consummate professional who is competent and compassionate. My thoughts and prayers are with Alex's family, friends, and fellow officers in the police department. I ask at this time that all residents of Union City keep Alex's family and the Union City Police Department in your thoughts and prayers."

Ruperto leaves behind two adult children, Juliana and Alex Jr.

Juliana is an employee of the Union City Police Department as a public safety telecommunicator.

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