The Borough of North Arlington held a candlelight vigil last night for fallen Jersey City Police Det. Joseph Seals, with law enforcement, friends, and family all a part of the crowd of hundreds on hand for the memorial.
“They feel overwhelmed with looking out here and seeing the support that this community has come to bring,” North Arlington Mayor Daniel Pronti said on the steps of the Queen of Peace Church.
“As we stand here and start our healing process, it’s comforting to know that for their family, they have this sea of a family that we have out here.”
The Bergen County municipality was the last place where Seals, his wife, and five children lived before he was gunned down on Tuesday, the first of four innocent lives to be taken in the midst of bloody carnage that lasted for hours in Jersey City.
David Anderson and Francine Graham are currently believed to be responsible for all four of the deaths in the midst of an ongoing investigation, which has been deemed domestic terrorism and a bias crime, which has already concluded they had anti-Semitic and anti-law enforcement beliefs.
The crowd on hand held candles, glow sticks, and were largely decked out in blue to honors Seals’ 17-plus years of service.
Harrison Police Officer Harrison Ford said he’d been friends with Seals since 2001 when they were both Hudson County corrections officers, noting that he had also helped with renovations shortly after he purchased his home.
” … You have to honor your brothers and your sisters … it sucks, excuse my language, but it does. Unfortunately, we’re a target and it’s just sad and it’s even rougher when you have kids at home,” further stating he slept in his daughter’s room on Wednesday night after she repeatedly expressed fears he may not come home the next day.
Jersey City Police Officer Benevolent Association President Carmine Disbrow recalled that he worked with Seals in the city’s South District for seven or eight years and called him “one of the finest cops” he’s worked with.
“He was probably one of the finest cops, with the greatest instincts, that I’ve ever worked with. He was always ready to work, he never took days off, he loved the job, he loved working: he loved taking bad guys off the street, he loved taking guns off the street,” Disbrow stated.
He added that the groundswell of support has been overwhelming, with members of law enforcement from as far away as Texas, Colorado, Florida, and Canada had reached out to the Jersey City Police Department offering their condolences and well wishes.
As other officials have mentioned previously, Disbrow indicated that when all the details come out, it will be clear that Seals’ actions saved many lives last week.
” … In the next few weeks, the coming months, as bad as the tragedy was, it would’ve been 10 times worse, 100 times worse if Det. Seals didn’t take the actions that he did.”
The community support for Seals was on display on an even larger scale this afternoon, as surely over a thousand people attended his wake at the McLaughlin Funeral Home.
Officers from the Guttenberg, Secaucus, Bradley Beach, Moorestown, NYPD, Port Authority Police Departments, along with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, were just a few of the departments who came out early to show their support.
According to his obituary, Seals joined the Jersey City Police Department in November 2005 after serving as a Hudson County corrections officer for about four years.
In November 2017, he was promoted to detective and joined the department’s cease fire unit.
In lieu of flowers, his family has asked for donations in his memory to Saint Joseph’s School for the Blind, located at 761 Summit Avenue in Jersey City.
Seals’ funeral is tomorrow at the St. Aedan’s Church at St. Peter’s University at 11 a.m. Commuters should expect significant delays in the hours before and after the service.
There was an incredible show of support for fallen #JerseyCity Police Det. Joseph Seals within the first hour of his wake today. More details: https://t.co/Ui3L3RheUE @JerseyCityPOBA #jerseycityshooting pic.twitter.com/JOxpUU3eEJ
â€” Hudson County View (@HudsonCoView) December 16, 2019
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information.