A New Jersey councilwoman, who was also the mother of a young daughter and the leader of her church, was shot and killed outside of her home in what officials are calling a “shocking” and “senseless” attack.
Gov. Phil Murphy told reporters on Thursday that Eunice Dwumfour was the first elected official in recent memory to be shot and killed while in office in the state. Yolanda Ciccone, the Middlesex County prosecutor, told ABC News that the councilwoman’s political position does not seem to have had anything to do with the murder.
“I am stunned by the news of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour’s murder last evening in an act of gun violence,” Murphy said. “Her career of public service was just beginning, and by all accounts she had already built a reputation as a committed member of the Borough Council who took her responsibility with the utmost diligence and seriousness.”
Officials say that Dwumfour was shot Wednesday night while she was in her white SUV. She was shot several times, and police said she was dead when they got there. Dwumfour’s body was found in the townhouse complex where she lived. No one knew right away why the shooting happened. Police didn’t say if they had found a suspect or put someone in jail.
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Mahesh Chitnis, who is on Sayreville’s Human Relations Commission, wrote on Facebook that his next-door neighbour, Dwumfour, had been arrested “killed 300 feet from my home … she was shot while returning back home. She was a woman full of life.”
Law enforcement sources who know about the investigation say that there is no clear reason why Dwumfour was killed. But detectives have her phone, and sources told ABC News that they are looking at every part of her life — personal, professional, and religious — to figure out what happened.
Sources say that Dwumfour had just dropped someone off at her townhouse and was going somewhere else when the attacker came up to her on foot. ABC News has heard from sources that the two did not talk to each other. Sources say that people who were there said they heard more than 10 shots.
Dwumfour was elected to the council in 2021. At the time, he was a business analyst and a part-time EMT. She just got married and had a daughter who was 12 years old. Dwumfour was also known as a leader in her Newark church. Bob Hugin, who is the head of the New Jersey Republican State Committee, said that Dwumfour’s death was “senseless violence.”
“We will remember Eunice for her steadfast dedication to the community, as well as her deep and abiding Christian faith,” Hugin said. “We have the utmost confidence that law enforcement will bring the perpetrators of this heartbreaking tragedy to justice. God Bless Councilwoman Dwumfour and her family.”
Detective Rebecca Morales of the Sayreville Police Department can be reached at 732-727-4444 or Detective Michelle Coppola of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office can be reached at 732-745-3477.
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