Second Republican official shot dead in New Jersey in just one week

 February 10, 2023

Two local Republican officials in New Jersey have been slain in less than a week.

Milford councilman Russell Heller, 51, was shot dead at his Somerset workplace by a former co-worker Wednesday. His murder comes days after the murder of Sayreville councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour.

Second NJ Republican murdered

The police identified the suspect in Heller's slaying as 58-year-old Gary T. Curtis, a former worker at the energy company PSE&G.

The suspect approached Heller just after 7 a.m. in the parking lot of PSE&G in Somerset before "shooting him outside of his vehicle," the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office said.

Curtis then drove to a separate location in Bridgewater, where he shot himself dead. The police have said Heller was the intended target.

The police have not shared a motive, but they are calling the attack an "isolated incident" with no political motive and no apparent connection to the eerily similar murder of Dwumfour exactly a week before in nearby Sayreville.

Just a coincidence?

Like Heller, Dwumfour, a Republican councilwoman in Sayreville, was executed in her car by a gunman who approached on foot.

No suspects have been identified in the case, but police say the attack was targeted. Prosecutors have dismissed the notion that politics was involved.

New Jersey's Democratic governor Phil Murphy was also quick to dismiss speculation of a political motive in Dwumfour's slaying.

Dwumfour, 30, was shot dead the evening of February 1 in her SUV outside her apartment building. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A gun control law Murphy recently signed would make it a crime for law-abiding citizens to carry loaded firearms in most public places, including their own private vehicles.

Exploiting tragedy

Murphy appeared to capitalize on Heller's death, which he described, in oddly abstract terms, as a "tragic act of gun violence."

"Early this morning, a deadly shooting took place outside of a PSE&G facility in Franklin Township. Our thoughts and prayers are with Russell Heller's family and friends in the wake of this tragic act of gun violence," Murphy tweeted.

Zachary T. Rich, director of the Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners called Heller a "dedicated and valuable member of the Milford and Hunterdon County community whose leadership and commitment will be sorely missed."

"More importantly, however, Russell was a loving and caring father to his daughter and a dedicated and loyal friend to all of those who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
© 2015 - 2024 Conservative Institute. All Rights Reserved.