NJ Council Member Shot Dead, Second in a Week

Police don't think there's a connection
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2023 12:35 PM CST
NJ Council Member Is 2nd Shot Dead in a Week
Gary Curtis.   (Franklin Township Police Department)

A New Jersey man was the second council member in the state to be shot to death in a vehicle in the space of the week, though investigators do not believe there is connection between the murder of Russell Heller on Wednesday and that of Eunice Dwumfour a week earlier. Heller, 51, was shot in his vehicle in the parking lot of the PSE&G energy company facility in Somerset County, CNN reports. Police say Heller, a Milford Borough councilman and PSE&G supervisor, was shot by former employee Gary Curtis, 58.

Police say Heller was shot Wednesday morning and Curtis was found hours later in his vehicle, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Prosecutors said the investigation "has revealed that the shooting of Mr. Heller was not politically connected with his elected office or political affiliation," CBS New York reports. US Rep. Tom Kean Jr. said he was "shocked and saddened" by the murder of an "outstanding public servant who proudly represented the river town he loved," NJ.com reports.

Heller and Dwumfour were both Republicans. More than a week after Dwumfour was shot to death in an SUV outside her home, no arrests have been made. The FBI has now joined the hunt for the killer of the 30-year-old, who was the first Black person ever elected to the Sayreville Borough Council, the New York Times reports. Middlesex County prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said Wednesday that the killing is her office's "No. 1 priority." She declined to comment when a reporter asked if the killing could have been a "political assassination." (More New Jersey stories.)

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