NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The annual “Blue Mass” was held Thursday in Newark honoring falling law enforcement officers.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports
Ten officers who died in 2010 and 2011 were being honored at Newark’s Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, including Det. Michael Morgan who died this week.
Morgan was shot and killed Monday outside of a club in Paterson where he was attending a friend’s birthday party.
Newark Police Director Samuel DeMaio says he’s known the Morgan family for years.
WCBS 880’s Levon Putney In Newark
“When you lose an officer in the police department, it’s like losing a close family member,” DeMaio said.
DaMaio said Morgan’s sister was in his wedding party.
“When he decided to become a Newark cop six and half years ago, he had some conversation with me about it and I thought it was the right thing for him,” he said. “He was guy who just loved being a cop.”
DaMaio said Morgan was a shining star in the department who tragically has fallen.
Two people were arrested Wednesday in Philadelphia in connection with Morgan’s death.
Jerome Wright, 24, and his girlfriend, Nashali Gadson, 19, of Newark, are charged with felony murder, robbery and unlawful possession of a weapon.
Bail has been set at $1.5 million each.
Also honored at Thursday’s ceremony was Newark Officer William Johnson.
The 16-year police veteran was waiting for his order at a neighborhood pizza place when he was shot and killed back in May.
Rasul McNeill-Thomas was arrested in connection with Johnson’s death and faces first-degree murder charges as well as two counts of aggravated assault, carjacking conspiracy and weapons offenses.
He has pleaded not guilty.