A 30-year-old Republican Councilwoman, Eunice Dwumfour, was shot dead outside her home in Sayreville, New Jersey, in the U.S.
Dwumfour, a member of the Sayreville Borough Council, was the wife of a Nigerian pastor, Eze Kings Akwue, who is based in Abuja and hails from Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The couple got married on November 24, 2022, at Champions Royal Assembly in Kubwa, Abuja.
She was found in her white Nissan SUV with several gunshot wounds, close to her townhome, just before 7:30 p.m. last Wednesday.
Officers with the Sayreville Police Department responded to reports of a shooting at 7:22 p.m. in Parlin, an unincorporated area of Sayreville, and found Ms. Dwumfour in her car with multiple gunshot wounds, according to a statement by the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
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 neighbour said.
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A resident told Fox News Digital that police arrived at the scene within minutes and were trying to break the window of the car.
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, 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 that the councilwoman’s political views do not yet appear to be a motive in the slaying.
During a press conference for an unrelated incident on Friday February 3, 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.”
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.
“We’ll do anything we can to track down this murderer,” he added.
Dwumfour 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.”
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 the Nigerian pastor, with wedding ceremonies in August in New Jersey and in November in Abuja.
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.”