A New Jersey police officer who was among six people killed in a shootout that brought the streets of Jersey City to a standstill Tuesday had been credited with having led the department in the number of illegal guns removed from the streets in recent years, according to his superiors.
Detective Joseph Seals, 40, was among six people, including three bystanders and two of the three suspects who opened fire on police and civilians, killed Tuesday.
“Dozens and dozens of handguns he’s responsible for removing from the streets,” Police Chief Michael Kelly told reporters. “We believe he was killed while trying to interdict these bad guys on Garfield Avenue.”
Authorities said the shootout might have been started by Seals trying to stop an incident involving illegal guns when he was shot down by gunfire that erupted near a cemetery.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop praised Seals’ legacy, saying that his performance “speaks for itself.”
“He [probably] is responsible for more guns being removed from the streets than any,” Fulop tweeted. “He was an officer that loved JC, was involved in the city, and one that everyone knew regardless of their precinct.”
Seals, who is survived by his wife and five children, joined the Jersey City Police Department in 2006.
Kelly said Seals “came up in the South District,” a high-crime area. He was promoted to detective in November 2017, WABC-TV reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.