A Republican city councilwoman was fatally shot in her car outside her home in New Jersey on Wednesday night in what police believe was a planned attack.
Although the Sayreville Police Department has not publicly identified the victim, prosecutors confirmed to The Washington Post on Thursday that Eunice Dwumfour, a 30-year-old Republican member of the Sayreville Borough Council, was killed in the shooting. The Sayreville GOP chairwoman also confirmed on social media that Dwumfour was the person killed.
“My sincerest condolences to the family of Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour,” Karen Bailey Bebert wrote early Thursday on Facebook. “May God bring you peace and God rest her soul.”
Police believe Dwumfour was the intended target in the attack, but the motive remains unclear, WABC in New York reported. No arrests had been made as of early Thursday. Residents told RLS Media, a local news site, that they saw the person they believed to be the gunman running toward the Garden State Parkway, which is not far from the scene of the shooting.
Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick (D) said in a statement that the community was “shocked and saddened at the loss of Eunice Dwumfour,” describing her killing as “a despicable criminal act.”
“Eunice was a dedicated member of our Borough Council who was truly committed to serve all of our residents,” Kilpatrick said. “The fact that she was taken from us by a despicable criminal act makes this incident all the more horrifying.”
The sentiments were echoed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who urged anyone with information on her death to contact law enforcement immediately.
“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,” Murphy said in a statement posted to Twitter.
I am stunned by the news of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour’s murder last evening in an act of gun violence. I send my condolences to her family and friends, and the entire Sayreville community.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) February 2, 2023
I urge anyone with information to contact Sayreville local law enforcement. pic.twitter.com/mHulQuOrVZ
Police did not immediately respond to a request from The Post for comment early Thursday.
Dwumfour, who was a business analyst, IT professional and part-time EMT worker, had served on the borough council since 2022 after she scored an upset victory over her Democratic opponent. She also served on Sayreville’s human relations commission. She was a graduate of William Paterson University with a degree in women’s studies and also was the director of churches for an international ministry, Champions Royal Assembly, according to her LinkedIn profile.
When asked by local media in 2021 why she wanted to run for borough council, Dwumfour said she wanted to improve safety and infrastructure, and give first responders the resources they needed to respond quickly to emergencies.
“I hope voters know that I would truly be honored and privileged to serve our town and its residents,” she told Tap Into Raritan Bay, a local news site. “I am ready to work with us to improve and build a stronger Sayreville together.”
Dwumfour had lived in Sayreville, a New Jersey city about 35 miles outside of New York, for about seven years. She was not up for reelection until 2024.
As news of her death spread early Thursday, colleagues and friends paid tribute to her on social media, with one saying he was “shocked, scared and heartbroken.” Community organizer Charlie Kratovil posted video to social media of Dwumfour’s SUV being towed away. Police said they think the vehicle crashed after Dwumfour was shot.
“I personally knew her to be a very kind person and public servant,” Kratovil tweeted, adding that Dwumfour’s death was “a huge loss for the Sayreville community.”
In a news release, New Jersey Republican State Committee Chairman Bob Hugin expressed his “horror and deepest sorrow at the senseless violence” that killed Dwumfour.
“We have the utmost confidence that law enforcement will bring the perpetrators of this heartbreaking tragedy to justice,” Hugin said. “God Bless Councilwoman Dwumfour and her family.”
Juan and Nelia Rodriguez, members of Sayreville’s human relations commission, said they couldn’t stop crying over the loss of their friend, whom they had seen at the store Wednesday morning.
“She was 30 years young and full of life,” they wrote on Facebook. “You will be missed my dear, precious friend.”