In Jersey City, Crowds Gather To Remember Police Detective

Dec 17, 2019
Originally published on December 17, 2019 3:09 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now to Jersey City and the funeral for the police detective who was killed last week just before the attack on a kosher market. NPR's Jeff Brady reports police from around the region lined the streets today to pay their respects.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: It's a cold, wet day in Jersey City. A police procession with hundreds of officers escorted Detective Joseph Seals' coffin from a funeral home to Saint Aeden's Church.

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BRADY: As the coffin was moved along the street, honor guards on the sidewalk raised their flags and officers with white gloves saluted. Arriving at the church, bagpipes played as mourners went inside for the funeral mass.

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BRADY: Patrolman Frank Steinhauser is here with colleagues from the North Plainfield, N.J., police department.

FRANK STEINHAUSER: I'm thinking about the officer who was murdered in the line of duty by a terrorist - two terrorists.

BRADY: Federal authorities call this a case of domestic terrorism and say the attackers appeared to be motivated by a hatred for Jews and the police. Among those watching the procession, Natalie Miranda works nearby and says she noticed there was a big security presence, including officers patrolling with large guns.

NATALIE MIRANDA: There's SWAT. There's dogs - extra precautions today. I know that one of the cops had told me just, you know, keep an eye out today and try to be careful.

BRADY: Nearby and standing under an umbrella, Jersey City resident Michelle Maddy says she's thinking about Detective Seals' wife and five children.

MICHELLE MADDY: You know, it's just so sad. It really is, you know, 'cause I have five children of my own, you know? And, you know, to be - you know, for his life to be cut so short like that, you know, it's just sad. It really is, you know? I feel really bad for his family, and I hope they do all he can for his family.

BRADY: An online fundraiser brought in more than $570,000 dollars by this afternoon. Another organization is paying off the family's mortgage. Meantime, the investigation into Seals' death and the attack on the kosher market continues. Investigators are holding back some details, but we know that he was at a cemetery a week ago. Authorities say the attackers killed Seals first and then went to the kosher market, killing three more people. The shooters died after a gun battle with police.

Authorities say more details will be made public later. Today a police department from a nearby town patrolled Jersey City so officers here could spend the day remembering their colleague.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Jersey City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.