Shameless, heartless scammers have reportedly been trying to exploit the death of a Jersey City police officer, husband and father of five to earn a profit.
Detective Joseph Seals, a 40-year-old Jersey City Police Department veteran, died Tuesday while trying to apprehend two suspects accused of murder.
The suspects reportedly opened fire, killing Seals, and then fled in a stolen truck. After reportedly getting stuck in traffic in a nearby Jewish neighborhood, the suspects then hijacked a kosher market and engaged in a gun battle with authorities.
In all, six people wound up dead because of the Jersey City shooting, as it’s being called, including Det. Seals, three bystanders in the market and the two suspects.
But as details about the event went viral, bottom-feeding hustlers crept up from their mothers’ basements in the hopes of profiting from these unnecessary deaths, according to multiple sources, including the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association:
Warning – We have been alerted that there are numerous GoFundMe pages set up for Det. Joseph Seals most, if not all, are fake.
Do not donate to any GoFundMe or for Det. Seals.
— New Jersey State PBA (@NJSPBA) December 11, 2019
The scammers reportedly managed to raise around $16,000.
“We found out last night that a reprehensible group of people are online trying to profiteer off the misfortune of others,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito confirmed at a press conference Wednesday. “I can’t find the words for how disgusting this conduct is. What I can tell you is we’re looking at it. We’re investigating it.”
“And if anyone has any information about any of these pages, or if you’ve donated money to any pages that were set up last night for the victims, you should contact the FBI,” he continued, adding that no legitimate fundraisers had been set up by Tuesday evening.
For Seals, the only legitimate donation page is the one below that was set up Wednesday:
This is the official GoFundMe page in support of the Seals family. We are so grateful for everyone’s outpouring of love and support at this trying time. https://t.co/2pWeq0elzc
— Jersey City POBA (@JerseyCityPOBA) December 11, 2019
“The JCPOBA has set up this GoFundMe page to accommodate all of the generous offers of support we have received in the hours since this incident,” the page reads. “All of the dollars raised will go directly to the Seals family, helping them cover education, housing, and other expenses for the five children that Joe loved so dearly.”
So who was Seals? Besides being a hero, he was the father of five children — the oldest of whom is 15, and the youngest of whom is reportedly just a baby.
He was also one hell of a cop.
“There’s no better cop for interdicting firearms and weapons,” Jersey City Police Chief Michael Kelly said to local PBS station NJTV. “And he’s been responsible for significant crime drops in violent crime. And no cop in the city has taken more guns off the street in the last couple years than Joe Seals.”
“And he did that job with vim and vigor and was very successful at it. And the people in Jersey City are very, very proud of him. And the fact that he gave the ultimate sacrifice is heartbreaking to us.”
According to local mayor Dan Pronti, Seals had also been very active in the community.
“Joe was a member of our community, as we all know, and he and his family, they were all part of it,” the mayor said. “He was a hard working police officer. He did work on the side. He made extra money to provide for his family. He then also found time to contribute back to his community by volunteering his time at all the local schools.”
“Just an all around good guy. Everything is just a complete tragedy and the entire community is grieving right now along with the Seals family.”
Listen to Kelly and Pronti’s remarks below:
But it’s not just the city’s top officials who admired Seals. So did local residents.
“He was a great family man,” Joseph Vuocolo, a local who lives about a block from the deceased cop’s family, said to NorthJersey.com. “He had a wonderful wife and was a good father. Believe me, if he was a bum, I’d tell you he was a bum. But he was a really great guy.”
He was also modest and humble.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know he was a Jersey City police officer until recently,” local barbershop owner Ryan Esposito said. “He wasn’t flashy about it, didn’t walk around with his badge and his gun. Never asked for a break on the price because he was a cop; he didn’t flaunt it. He walked around with his kids with his head up high.”
Learn more about Seals and his family via the tweets below:
Detective Joseph Seals EOW 12/10/2019 of the Jersey City PD is a member of BBO and our hearts are broken. He leaves behind a wife & five children. We have set up a fund at https://t.co/fJiqthMulv via our PayPal: [email protected]
Please put Seals Family in notes. pic.twitter.com/BmouZw2Jxu
— BrothersBeforeOthers (@bboinc14) December 10, 2019
R.I.P. – Detective Joseph Seals identified as police officer killed in Jersey City shooting; he was a married father of 5 😢💔 My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, children and @JerseyCityPD ! #JerseyCityShooting pic.twitter.com/Y5fodKJSSq
— Trisha Baum (@Pb11379) December 10, 2019
Det. Joseph Seals, 39, took more guns off #JerseyCity streets than anyone else in Cease Fire Unit. The father of five was fatally shot during a standoff Tuesday, with 2 suspects killed in a kosher supermarket, along with 3 civilians. @PIX11News pic.twitter.com/8i6RjLzxTU
— Mary Murphy (@MurphyPIX) December 10, 2019
This is Det. Joseph Seals of the #JerseyCity PD. He was murdered today. He leaves a wife & 6 children behind. Pray for his family, the Jersey City PD & all first responders. Pray for the people who lost lives & pray for a quick recovery of those injured in this horrible incident. pic.twitter.com/nvn4DMJBSX
— Ｂｌｏｎｄｉｅ (@BohoBlonde18) December 11, 2019
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