New Jersey's men and women in blue are mourning the loss of their colleagues.
Hundreds of law enforcement personnel filled the pews of Newark's Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart Thursday morning for the 19th annual Blue Mass in honor of the nine officers who died in the line of duty during the past year in New Jersey.
The fallen officers' families sat in the first seven rows and did not take questions from reporters.
The nearly two-hour-long mass started outside as officers from more than a dozen agencies dressed in full uniforms, stood at attention and marched into the cathedral as their ranking officers yelled commands.
Inside the large, stone basilica, silence was intermittent among prayers and songs.
During Holy Communion, a man dressed in an all-white robe sang "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends" and a police bagpipe band played "Amazing Grace."
Some officers kept their heads bowed during the mass, while others wiped away tears.
There were no cries of emotion as the priest named the fallen officers in order of their death date: John Abraham, Teaneck Police Department; Jason Marles, Ocean Gate Police Department; Christopher Matlosz, Lakewood Police Department; Anthony Fotiou, New Jersey State Police; William C. Johnson Jr., Newark Police Department; Debora Ferreira, Essex County Department of Corrections; Joseph Wargo, Mount Arlington Police Department; Jorge Oliveira, Essex County Sheriff's Office; and Michael Morgan, Newark Police Department.
The mass outside a strip club in Paterson.
, and his girlfriend, Nashali Gadson, 19, Wednesday and charged the duo with Morgan's death.
At the cathedral, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr. and New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno sat in the first row. None spoke during the mass.
"Crime is going down in the city," said Booker after the mass. Two of the fallen officers honored Thursday — Johnson and Ferreira — were killed in Newark. "But for the next two days, we're going to be focusing on sending one of our officers home," said the mayor about Morgan.
Morgan's funeral is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Saint Lucy's Roman Catholic Church in Newark.