A black Republican councilwoman in Sayreville, New Jersey named Eunice Dwumfour was shot and killed this week in an incident that appears to have possibly been a targeted assassination.
An investigation is ongoing and the FBI has reportedly joined the probe, and though no suspect has been caught or motive determined, authorities have already somehow ruled out partisan politics as a possible motivation for the killer, according to local affiliate WABC.
"We are aware of the investigation into the death of Councilwoman Dwumfour, in Sayreville Wednesday evening," an FBI spokesperson said in a statement Friday. "We have talked with our local law enforcement partners at the Sayreville Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office. Should they ask us for any assistance, we will do all we can to help their investigation."
WABC reported that investigators are said to be sifting through Dwumfour's personal, professional, and religious life -- including the single mother's recent marriage to a pastor living in Nigeria -- for any clues that might lead to her killer or help explain why she was murdered.
"She was happy with her new husband. It seems. Happy with her daughter, and she was living the life, the American dream. She was a beautiful motivated person, who did very well in the community," former campaign manager Karen Bailey Bebert said of Dwumfour in a statement. "I believe her daughter lit up her life. Jesus Christ lit up her life. She was very faithful and driven. She was a shining star."
According to local affiliate WNBC, police officers responded to a call of shots fired Wednesday evening and found Dwumfour suffering from multiple gunshot wounds in her vehicle that had been parked in front of her home but had rolled down the street and stopped after it crashed into other parked vehicles. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Per the police, witness statements, and security camera footage, around 14 shots were fired by a man who appeared to have been talking to Dwumfour while standing next to her vehicle. That unidentified man is believed to have then fled the scene between two buildings and disappeared into a patch of woods.
The outlet noted that investigators canvassed the area around the scene of the crime for evidence on Thursday and were still searching for both a suspect and a motive, but Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone has apparently already determined that, according to ABC News, "the councilwoman’s political position does not yet appear to have played any role in the homicide."
How that particular determination was made so quickly is not known, and it squarely contradicts ABC's same report that stated just a few paragraphs later, "Police have no clear motive for Dwumfour’s killing, according to law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation."
What is known of the 30-year-old slain councilwoman, according to WNBC, is that the Newark native whose family had come to America from Ghana had been considered a "rising star" in New Jersey's Republican Party who had won an upset victory against an incumbent Democrat in 2021 to win her seat on the Sayreville council.
Dwumfour was a single mother raising a young daughter who worked as an IT professional and, in addition to her work on the council, was also the director of churches for an international ministry and a pastor at an African church in Newark. She had also recently married a congregant named Eze Kings who reportedly spent much of his time working to establish a church in his home country of Nigeria.
Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said in a statement about Dwumfour's untimely death, "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."
NJGOP Chair Bob Hugin released a statement to express the organization's "horror and deepest sorrow at the senseless violence" that claimed Dwumfour's life.
Hugin added, "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."