The young son of Det. Seals offered a final salute during a day filled with solidarity and sadness.
The somber echo of bagpipes filled the air outside St. Aedan’s Church in Jersey City ad the flag draped coffin of fallen police Det. Joseph Seals was carried in by his brothers and sisters in blue.
The entire Jersey City police department stood at attention in the cold, pouring rain to honor one of their own.
People living in the community he served also came to pay their respects.
“It’s not good. Devastating. Gone too soon, he’s a good man,” said Matthew McGinn.
“These guys protect us every day. It’s especially hard for this family man who has five kids and works so hard and took so many guns off the street,” said Jersey City resident Teri Fiore. “He deserves everyone that showed up today, and more.”
Seals, 40, was a married father of five. The veteran police officer joined the Jersey City Police Department in 2006.
Retired cop Glenn Gaultieri worked with him in the south district. He’s devastated, losing his colleague, but most of all, his friend.
“He was just a good guy. A regular guy. That’s what most cops are,” Gaultieri said.
Jersey City’s mayor and police chief gave eulogies, and two of Det. Seals’ sons shared stories about the man they knew as dad. The little one, standing with his mom and siblings, proudly wore his father’s hat and saluted him on the steps of the church as the city said their final goodbyes.
“His dad was a hero, definitely, of course,” said Ted White. “He said ‘My father was a hero!'”
Seals was no doubt a hero, making the ultimate sacrifice last week when he was gunned down by two suspects who went on to murder three more innocent people in a kosher market.
“He gave his life protecting people that are not always fans of the police, but it didn’t stop him,” one mourner said.
All the Hudson County police departments volunteered to police Jersey City Tuesday so that every single Jersey City police officer could attend Det. Seals’ funeral.
Support poured in from all over the country.
“We are family and when one of us have been killed, it affects every single law enforcement person in the country. We’re here to show our support and show that we care,” said Richard Wolberg, chaplain of the Fall River Police Department of Fall River, Mass.
“No amount of money will ever bring Joey back, but to lift the burden of their mortgage off of Laura so that she can grieve and raise her children means more to the family than anyone will ever know,” said Justin Smith, Seals’ cousin. “He grew up in Jersey City, he knew the city, he loved doing what he did.”
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