Pa. police chief dies from complications of asthma attack

Aliquippa Police Chief Robert Sealock had suffered a major asthma attack following a foot pursuit on March 26

Duty Death: Robert Sealock - [Aliquippa, Pennsylvania]

End of Service: 04/11/2020


By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Beaver County Times, Pa.

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. — The city of Aliquippa lost one of its leaders Saturday night.

Acting city Police Chief Robert Sealock has died. He was 49.

Chief Sealock was a U.S Navy veteran and served with the Aliquippa Police Department for 23 years. (Photo/ODMP)
Chief Sealock was a U.S Navy veteran and served with the Aliquippa Police Department for 23 years. (Photo/ODMP)

Sealock was rushed to Heritage Valley Beaver last month after a respiratory emergency on March 26 during his shift. He had been on a ventilator, officials said, and died late Saturday afternoon. It was not clear if his health condition was COVID-19 related.

"It's a very sad day for the city of Aliquippa," city solicitor Myron Sainovich said Saturday night. "Since we've had some changes occur in our police department, he's brought a lot of stability to our city."

Mayor Dwan Walker lauded Sealock's leadership and work as a police officer in Aliquippa. He promoted Sealock to acting chief in May 2018 and praised the way he turned the department around.

"He was a good man," Walker said through tears. "He was a good soul who took the reigns and righted the ship — he made sure everything was the way it should be."

Sealock had been with the department since 1997, Walker said, and was "a cop's cop." The pair talked every day, and Walker was always astounded by the positive attitude and willingness to help make the city better that Sealock exuded.

"Every time I saw him, it was a handshake or a hug," Walker said. "He'd ask, 'How you doing, mayor? Do you need something?'"

Walker said he was able to speak to Sealock for several minutes via phone on Saturday before his passing. He said he is thankful for the extra support and manpower offered by state police, Hopewell Township Police, Center Township Police and the Beaver County Sheriff's Department, which helped escort Sealock's body back to the city on Saturday.

"We lost a good man who had a good heart and loved Aliquippa with his whole heart," Walker said. "The city took a blow today. It hurts man, it hurts."

Sainovich said Sealock had planned to retire in June or July.

"It seems like right at the end of a very good career, such a terrible thing had occurred," Sainovich said. "His presence will be a loss to the city."

Walker commended city police for continuing to work hard in the face of Sealock's illness and the dangers associated with the coronavirus outbreak.

Beaver County Board of Commissioners Chairman Daniel Camp said the board was saddened to hear of Sealock's death.

"We extend our condolences to his family, friends, co-workers and the City of Aliquippa in general at this difficult time," Camp said in a statement. "His service to the community was appreciated and will always be remembered."

Sealock is survived by his wife Donna, a daughter and several stepchildren. Walker said city officials will work with Sealock's family to plan a public memorial after the state's COVID-19 restrictions are lifted on the county.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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