Three Jersey City Police Officers: Kendric Jackson, Mariela Fernandez, and Raymond Sanchez, were promoted to the rank of detective following their heroic actions in response to the domestic terrorism/bias crime incident on Dec. 10 that claimed four innocent lives.
By Mike Montemarano/Hudson County View
The new badges were presented to all three officers by Mayor Steven Fulop and Police Chief Michael Kelly, with all nine members of the city council also in attendance.
The families of all three detectives were also present to watch them receive commendations abound in addition to their promotions.
After the two suspects, David Anderson and Francine Graham, began shooting at innocent bystanders, the three officers were working on assigned posts nearby and were the first line of defense against those committing the massacre.
The officers ran directly into harm’s way after hearing the gunshots, and were the first to arrive on the scene. Once they arrived, they, along with countless other first responders, prevented any more civilian lives from being lost.
Both Fulop and Public Safety Director James Shea credited the trio for effectively preventing the shooters from causing any additional harm by keeping them pinned inside of the grocery store.
“Today, we have the privilege of recognizing three of the first four officers who responded, and I think it’s safe to say that if they hadn’t done what they did that day, it would’ve been a far worse disaster on Dec. 10,” Fulop said.
“If you look at the videos of how those officers responded, you see bravery, you see heroism, and you see them immediately running towards that gunfire. If it weren’t for the four of them that responded immediately, those two perpetrators would not have been pinned in that grocery store like they were. They would’ve had the opportunity to leave there and wreak more havoc and chaos on the community.”
Recent developments in the investigation, per the FBI, indicate that the shooters had no plans to cease fire after killing the occupants of the kosher store – saying on Monday that evidence show they also planned to open fire on an unnamed Jewish community center in Bayonne.
This afternoon, Kelly said that the three detectives serve as an example of the courage that every police officer should strive to have.
“We take an oath of office to protect and serve,” Kelly said. “We don’t take an oath to die while serving, but we know that running into danger to help others may lead to the ultimate sacrifice.”
Kelly was referring to Det. Joseph Seals, who was killed by the two shooters after encountering them in Bayview Cemetery prior to when the shoot out began.
“Kendric, Mariela, and Ray ran into danger on Dec. 10 to protect and serve, not to die. But, they were prepared to give their lives for all of us not because their oath says so, but because of their courage and their valor for which they are being promoted today- the courage and valor that every police officer hopes they will be awash in given the opportunity to protect and serve the citizens of Jersey City and in the name of Detective Joseph Allen Seals.”
During their encounter with the shooters, Sanchez was shot in his shoulder, and Fernandez was struck in her hand.
“Our plans over the next month are to recognize many more officers who were there that day and distinguished themselves with heroism, and represented everything that we know Jersey City police officers to be,” Fulop further stated.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t also recognize Sgt. Marjorie Jordan. Thank you again for all that you do to keep Jersey City safe.”
Mike Montemarano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.