BELLEVILLE, NJ — Newark Police Detective Michael Morgan Jr., a native son of Belleville, was recently remembered as a very good man, a loving son and a dedicated police officer who sought to serve and protect the most vulnerable in the community. On Nov. 7, 2021 — the 10th anniversary of the night Morgan was gunned down by a gang member — Belleville paid tribute to the fallen police detective.
A street sign renaming Carpenter Street as Detective Michael Morgan Jr. Way was unveiled at an event attended by Mayor Michael Melham and members of the Belleville Township Council. Friends, family members and members of law enforcement from several surrounding towns joined together at the street corner to honor Morgan.
Morgan’s mother, Phyllis Morgan, attended the ceremony, which included solemn music from the Essex County Emerald Society Pipes & Drums.
Growing up in Belleville, Morgan could often be found playing sports in the township’s streets, lots and fields. He went on to play football at New Jersey City University.
Morgan fulfilled his childhood dream of becoming a police officer when he was assigned to Newark’s Second Precinct in 2005. He served on the Auto Theft Task Force before being promoted to detective and joining the Criminal Gant Intelligence Unit in 2006. Morgan focused his energies on the Safe City Program, which worked to remove guns from the street; Morgan’s work was featured on the Sundance Channel’s “Brick City” and National Geographic’s “Drugs Inc.”
Morgan was shot and killed while off-duty on Nov. 7, 2011, in Paterson. He was leaving a party when a gang member tried to rob him at gunpoint. Morgan was 32 years old.
“Belleville will always be proud of Michael Morgan Jr. for dedicating his life and giving his life to keep others safe,” Melham said. “This street sign will forever serve as a reminder of his courage and dedication to the people he served.”
Photos Courtesy of Belleville Township