A New Jersey councilwoman was shot dead outside her home on Wednesday — and the FBI is now investigating her death.
Police found Eunice Dwumfour, a 30-year-old Republican member of the Sayreville Borough Council, in her white Nissan SUV with several gunshot wounds, close to her townhome, just before 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Here’s what we know about Dwumfour’s killing.
Circumstances surrounding the incident
Neighbors told a local CBS News station that they heard two sets of four loud gunshots. After Dwumfour was shot, her vehicle rolled down the hill before crashing into parked cars, with her body slumped over the wheel.
“They looked outside and they saw someone running into the woods, which leads to the parkway,” a neighbor said.
A resident told Fox News Digital that police arrived at the scene within minutes and “were trying to break the window of the car. Obviously it was locked.”
Witnesses also said they saw a person wearing a hoodie run between two buildings and jump a fence.
Police in Sayreville, a town in Middlesex County with around 45,000 residents, searched the wooded area near the quiet complex where Dwumfour lived, as well as the Garden State Parkway nearby.
During a Thursday press conference, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said that he couldn’t remember the last elected official in the state who was shot and killed, and called Dwumfour’s death a “shocking, shocking development.”
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone, who is working with the Sayreville police to investigate, told ABC News the councilwoman’s political views do not yet appear to be a motive in the slaying.
The FBI is now investigating Dwumfour’s death
During a press conference for an unrelated incident on Friday, James Dennehy, the FBI special agent in charge of the Newark Field Office, said the agency is “aware of that incident and we are working with all of our partners in order to find out more about that incident.”
Yahoo News has reached out to the FBI for comment.
Detectives obtained Dwumfour’s phone from the scene. They told ABC News that they are looking at the personal, professional and religious aspects of her life in their probe.
Murphy added: “We’ll do anything we can to track down this murderer.”
Dwumfour was considered a rising star in the Republican Party
Dwumfour, a Republican, was elected to the council in 2021 after defeating an incumbent Democrat to begin a three-year term. She also served as a member of the Sayreville Human Relations Commission. She had just finished her first term.
New Jersey Republican Party Chairman Bob Hugin expressed his “horror and deepest sorrow at the senseless violence” in a statement.
“We will remember Eunice for her steadfast dedication to the community, as well as her deep and abiding Christian faith. 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.”
In a statement provided to Yahoo News, Murphy said Dwumfour’s public service career was “just beginning.”
“I am stunned by the news of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour’s murder last evening in an act of gun violence. 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. I send my condolences to Councilwoman Dwumfour’s family and friends, her governing body colleagues, and the entire Sayreville community. Sayreville is a proud, tight-knit, and safe community and I know that it will come together, as it always has, in common purpose,” Murphy said.
Dwumfour was a mother and a church leader
Dwumfour was a Newark native and was living in Sayreville as the single mother of a 12-year-old daughter. She had just recently married a pastor, with wedding ceremonies in August in New Jersey and in November in Abuja, Nigeria. She had a background in information technology and was a part-time EMT. According to her LinkedIn page, the councilwoman also worked as the director of churches for an international ministry, Champions Royal Assembly.
Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick remembered Dwumfour for her deep faith.
“Beyond her dedication to our community, I can share that she was a woman of deep faith and worked hard to integrate her strong Christian beliefs into her daily life as a person and a community leader,” Kilpatrick said.
Karen Bailey Bebert, a local GOP chairwoman who also served as Dwumfour’s campaign manager, described Dwumfour as being energetic and having a smile that “lit up the room.”
“She was a 30-year-old woman,” Bebert said to the Associated Press. “To have this happen in such a tragic way, I mean, our hearts are just broken and everybody wants an answer. So we’re waiting with bated breath.”