Another Republican Shot Dead 1 Week After Councilwoman Killed in Same State
Two Republican city council members in New Jersey have been slain in the last week after one was shot to death in the community of Franklin on Wednesday.
Russell Heller, a 51-year-old GOP borough councilman in Milford, was shot to death in the parking lot of a building owned by the public utility provider PSE&G where he worked, NJ.com reported.
Police said the victim was targeted by a disgruntled former employee, according to the report.
The suspect, identified as 58-year-old Gary Curtis, later took his own life while sitting in his vehicle in nearby Bridgewater, New Jersey, police said.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release Wednesday the attack occurred just after 7 a.m. ET that day and Heller was dead when first responders arrived at the scene.
“Responding Officers encountered a deceased adult male suffering from a gunshot wound,” the release said. “Emergency Medical Personnel from an area Trauma Center responded to the scene where the male was pronounced deceased.”
The release said officers were still attempting to find a potential motive in the shooting.
On Thursday, authorities said Heller’s killing was “not politically connected,” NJ.com reported.
Milford’s mayor put out a statement that remembered Heller as “full of life.”
“The Milford Borough Council is deeply saddened by the loss and our hearts go out to his family,” Mayor Henri Schepens said in the statement, according to NJ.com. “He was so full of life, it’s just unbelievable that he’s gone. Something like this has never happened in borough history. We are very shaken by this.”
New Jersey councilmember Russell Heller was shot and killed in his car Wednesday in an apparent murder-suicide:https://t.co/B87zpuVpC5
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) February 9, 2023
Heller’s death followed the Feb. 2 slaying of another New Jersey borough council member.
Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour of Sayreville was shot multiple times as she sat in her vehicle near her apartment.
The 30-year-old crashed the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene.
This was the scene overnight in the Sayreville development known as La Mer, where a 30-year-old Councilwoman was murdered.
Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour’s white SUV crashed after the gunshots rang out. It appears she was targeted though the killer’s motive is still not clear. pic.twitter.com/CJyP190RiW
— Charlie Kratovil (@Charlie4Change) February 2, 2023
Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick remembered Dwumfour as a public servant who truly cared about her community in a statement.
“Eunice was a dedicated member of our borough council who was truly committed to serve our residents,” Kilpatrick said. “The fact she was taken from us by this despicable criminal act makes this incident all the more horrifying.”
Police believe the councilwoman was specifically targeted by her killer. She was shot seven times in the head, according to authorities.
No arrests have been made in Dwumfour’s murder.
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