Arrest Made in Murder of NJ Councilwoman

Authorities say suspect, victim appeared to know each other from church
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2023 1:01 AM CDT
Arrest Made in Murder of NJ Councilwoman
This undated photo provided by the Sayreville, N.J., Borough Council shows Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour.   (Sayreville Borough Council via AP)

Authorities think they know who shot and killed a New Jersey councilwoman in February, though it seems they still don't know why she was slain. Rashid Ali Bynum, 28, of Portsmouth, Va., was arrested Tuesday and charged with murdering Eunice Dwumfour, who was 30. Prosecutors say Dwumfour had a number associated with Bynum as one of her cellphone contacts, listed as "FCF," an abbreviation for Fire Congress Fellowship, a Bible study group that is affiliated with Dwumfour’s church, Champions Royal Assembly in Newark, NJ. Bynum was a member of FCF and Dwumfour is listed in federal tax filings as the group's longtime treasurer. The fellowship's office is listed as a New Jersey address just two minutes from where Dwumfour was fatally shot while in her car outside the complex where she lived, the New York Times reports.

Prosecutors say evidence includes surveillance video from the scene, plus toll information and cellphone location data indicating Bynum drove from Virginia to New Jersey and back. But authorities have not offered any possible motives, and a lawyer for Dwumfour's family says that while they're glad a suspect has been caught, they have no idea why he allegedly did what he did: "They’re really struggling with the why," the lawyer says. Authorities say Bynum had searched for information on the church and the area where Dwumfour lived on the day she was slain, as well as gun information, ABC News reports. Dwumfour, a Republican whose family is from Ghana, was the first Black person elected to office in Sayreville. She had an 11-year-old daughter and had recently married a leader of her church, which was an offshoot congregation of a Nigerian megachurch. (More New Jersey stories.)

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