The police officer shot and killed as part of a multiple-location shootout in Jersey City on Tuesday was identified as a 15-year police veteran, according to law enforcement officials.
Det. Joseph Seals was the first person identified as a victim of two suspects who started the gunfire just after 12 p.m., Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said at a press conference. Seals was a 39-year-old father of five who had joined the Jersey City Police Department in 2006.
The detective worked with the city’s Cease Fire Unit, and was the department’s leading officer in removing guns from Jersey City streets, Kelly said.
Seals gained some press in 2008 after saving a woman from a sexual assault inside her own home on Christmas Eve. Seals and a partner climbed a fire escape and broke a window, according to an NJ.com report, wrestling the suspect to the ground as he fought with the officers.
According to senior law enforcement officials, Seals saw a U-Haul truck possibly linked to a murder from over the weekend in Bayonne. As he approached the truck, one of the suspects got out of the car and shot him.
Seals died from his injuries. The suspects fled that scene immediately after the officer was shot, driving over to a kosher market. Three more victims were killed at that scene before the male and female suspects died as well.
The pair and the police exchanged at least 100 gunshots in the standoff.