U.S. Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) issued the following statement on today’s killings in Jersey City:
“Once again, our nation is faced with scenes of carnage, fear, hopelessness, and loss. There should be no place in America where residents are gunned down while shopping for groceries, officers are slain while protecting our communities, and children are sheltering in place at school. These tragedies cannot become our new normal.
“I am thankful to the Jersey City Police Department, first responders and law enforcement officers from across New Jersey and neighboring areas that bravely ran toward danger to steer their neighbors to safety. My prayers and deepest sympathies are with the victims of today’s horrific and senseless tragedy in Jersey City. Our focus now should be continuing the investigation, honoring the sacrifice of Detective Seals and our other fallen New Jerseyans, praying for the full recovery of the injured officers, and doing everything we can to protect our communities from gun violence.”
Earlier today, Booker was at the Jersey City Greenville precinct for a briefing by local law enforcement and representatives from federal agencies about the ongoing investigation.
The officer killed today in Jersey City was named Joe Seals, a south district detective with the police department’s cease fire unit.
He was the father of five and had served on the force since 2006. He recently moved out of Bayonne earlier this year to North Arlington but reportedly loved his Hudson County hometown, and loved wearing the uniform of the Jersey City Police Department.
“It’s a really tough day for the city of Jersey City,” Mayor Steven Fulop told reporters this evening.
Two other officers wounded in today’s shootout were treated and released.
Joe Seals was promoted to detective and was a leading police officer in removing guns from the streets, according to Mayor Fulop. Veteran reporter Jonathan Dienst said Detective Seals approached a van that was connected to a weekend Bayonne murder he was investigating. The officer was mortally wounded. The van then fled to the bodega where five people, including the two suspects, died after a shootout with police.
The detective was killed while trying to interdict guns at the cemetery, Police Chief Michael J. Kelly told reporters this evening.