JERSEY CITY, NJ — A detective with 15 years experience as a cop was identified as the Jersey City police officer killed in a shootout that left six people dead on Tuesday, officials said.
Joseph Seals was fatally shot on Garfield Avenue, officials said. He worked with the city’s Cease Fire Unit. The officer was the leading cop in removing guns from city streets, Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said.
“Dozens and dozens of handguns, he is responsible for removing from the street,” Kelly said.
Seals was promoted to detective in the last few years, Kelly said. Before that, he worked in the South District, which has a high volume of crimes.
“Joe was somebody who was involved in city,” Mayor Steven Fulop said. “Officers in other precincts knew who he was because he was a good cop.”
The officer was killed toward the start of an hours-long shootout.
Around 12:30 p.m., officers rushed to reports of shots fired near 223 Martin Luther King Drive, officials said. Police were immediately engaged by high power rifle fire.
Seals was shot at a second scene on Garfield Avenue at about that same time.
He was married and had five children. Seals is the 35th police officer from Jersey City to die in the line of duty.
Gov. Phil Murphy praised Seals for his service.
“He gave his life in the line of duty and in the name of service to his community,” he said. “Our sadness comes with an immense debt of gratitude for his service and sacrifice.”
Two other officers were injured. They’ve since been released from the hospital. One of those officers was identified as Ray Sanchez.
Jersey City Councilman Jermaine Robinson expressed his condolences for the police department.
“As regular citizens, we get to run away from the crime,” he said. “But as police officers, they run toward the crime and they put their lives on the line every single day.”