Funeral set for New Jersey officer killed in shooting rampage

By Peter Szekely

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Funeral services are scheduled on Tuesday for a northern New Jersey police detective, the first of six people to die last week in a shooting rampage that authorities have labeled an act of domestic terrorism.

Six people, including the man and woman who carried out the attack, died in a series of events on Dec. 10 that ended in a police shootout in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals was among four people killed by the pair, who died following a four-hour gun battle with police after holing up in a kosher market, authorities said.

Seals, 40, a 15-year police veteran who leaves a wife and five children, will be remembered at a funeral mass set for 11 a.m. EST (1600 GMT) at Saint Aedan’s Church in Jersey City.

A Jersey City native who worked as a county corrections officer before joining the police force in November 2005, Seals had been a detective for two years.

A GoFundMe page set up by Jersey City Police Officer’s Benevolent Association had raised more than $536,000 for his family by Monday afternoon.

Seals had gone to a cemetery on Dec. 10 to meet an informant as part of an unrelated gun or narcotics investigation, PIX11 television reported, citing an unidentified senior law enforcement source.

While there, he approached a van that was suspected of being involved in a murder in nearby a Bayonne. He was ambushed by the pair, David Anderson, 47, and Francine Graham, 50, PIX11 and other local media reported.

A Jersey City police spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports.

The pair then drove to the JC Kosher Supermarket where authorities said they shot and killed three people and exchanged gunfire with police. The siege ended after four hours when police crashed an armored vehicle through the wall of the market.

After examining the attackers’ social media posts and other evidence, authorities said last week the pair had expressed interest in the Black Hebrew Israelites, a group unaffiliated with mainstream Judaism and some of whose offshoots the Southern Poverty Law Center lists as hate groups. Officials said they had not established an official link between the shooters and the group.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)