A shadowy figure, gunshots and a dead politician: Who killed New Jersey councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour?

Eunice Dwumfour was shot more than a dozen times as she sat in her car outside her home on 1 February. Months later a suspect has finally been arrested and charged with the slaying. Graig Graziosi reports

Tuesday 30 May 2023 18:58 EDT

Eunice Dwumfour was doing well.

The 30-year-old had just won an upset election victory over an incumbent city councilman in Sayreville, New Jersey. She was a mother to a 12-year-old daughter, active in her church, and she had just married a Nigerian pastor. Perhaps, on the night of 1 February, as she sat in her white SUV outside her home, she was thinking about their planned visit in May.

By the end of the night, Eunice Dwumfour was dead.

More than a dozen gunshots echoed through the cold winter evening. Neighbours called the police, who found Ms Dwumfour slumped over in her front seat. It appears her vehicle was running at the time of the shooting, as it had travelled about 100 feet before crashing into a pair of parked cars.

She was pronounced dead on the scene.

The investigation took months but finally, a suspect Rashid Ali Bynum, 28, of Portsmouth, Virginia, was taken into custody on Tuesday 30 May and charged with her killing.

The suspect

Police have not released any information regarding a possible suspect. Its unclear if they have leads or if they are not releasing information to the public during the course of their investigation.

Neighbors said they saw an individual leave the scene of the shooting, heading in the direction of the Garden State Parkway, according to RLS Media.

Surveillance footage obtained by News 12 New Jersey shows an individual running from the area on the night of the shooting, which matches the events described by the neighbors. However, the quality of the footage is poor and it is difficult to make out any identifying features of the individual in the video.

Surveillance footage captured the image of a shadowy figure leaving the area where Sayreville, New Jersey City Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot and killed

Police reportedly brought canine units to the scene to search the nearby woods for the murder weapon or any trace of a suspect, ABC 7 reports.

Law enforcement erected digital signs on nearby Ernston Road asking the public for help identifying a suspect, according to News 12 New Jersey.

Prince Dwumfour, Ms Dwumfour’s father, expressed his frustration that no suspects have been identified in his daughter’s murder.

"So far, we haven’t heard anything yet," he told the New York Post.

Councilwoman Fatally Shot

A spokesperson for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office told the New York Post that there were no updates to provide on the case as it was still under investigation.

Investigators did tell the Post that camera footage captured Ms Dwumfour speaking with the alleged shooter just moments before she was killed. It is unclear if that footage has been made available to the public.

Another video, obtained by 12 News New Jersey, captured the sound of more than a dozen gunshots being fired the night Ms Dwumfour was killed.

An image of a door in the neighborhood where Sayreville City Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot and killed. The video captures the sound of the gunshots the night of her death


Neither the police nor the prosecutor’s office have speculated on a possible motive in the shooting.

The FBI has joined the investigation and is examining all possible avenues for a motive in the killing, including personal, religious and professional reasons, ABC 7 reports.

"We are aware of the investigation into the death of Councilwoman Dwumfour, in Sayreville Wednesday evening. 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," the FBI said in a statement to ABC 7.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the mother’s murder feels "very specific," but said he did not believe it was related to her politics.

“Unfortunately, there’s very little that is known right now,” Mr Murphy said during a weekly radio appearance on WNYC. “It does not appear to be related to her position as an elected councilwoman in Sayreville.”

Eunice Dwumfour

Sayresville City Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was found dead outside her home with multiple gunshot wounds in what police believe to be a targeted killing

Ms Dwumfour, a Republican, recently won and upset Sayreville election against the incumbent Democrat. She was also a devout Christian and regularly attended church.

The councilwoman had recently married, to a pastor who lives in Nigeria, and was the mother to a young daughter.

"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," Ms Dwumfour’s former campaign manager Karen Bailey Bebert, told ABC7. "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."

Eze Kings, Ms Dwumfour’s husband, posted a message to Facebook saying she was an "angel" and that they had planned to visit in May.

“I know you breath through me I will continue to celebrate you as I have promised you I missed you my love,” he wrote.

In addition to serving on the city council, Ms Dwumfour was also a business analyst and a part-time EMT.

“Her career of public service was just beginning, and by all accounts she had already built a reputation as a committed member of the Borough Council who took her responsibility with the utmost diligence and seriousness,” Mr Murphy said in a statement after her death. “I send my condolences to Councilwoman Dwumfour’s family and friends, her governing body colleagues, and the entire Sayreville community.”

Sayreville’s mayor, Victoria Kilpatrick, remembered Ms Dwumfour not just as a colleague, but as a friend.

"Eunice was a dedicated member of our Borough Council who was truly committed to serve all of our residents. The fact that she was taken from us by a despicable criminal act makes this incident all the more horrifying," Ms Kilpatrick said. "As Mayor I have worked very closely with Eunice in her time on the Borough Council. 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 in to her daily life as a person and a community leader. On a personal note, I can’t adequately express my feeling of sorrow at the loss of a friend."

An arrest finally made months after killing

Rashid Ali Bynum, 28, of Portsmouth, Virginia, was taken into custody on Tuesday 30 May with officials saying that he knew the victim from the Champions Royal Assembly Church in Newark.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said that surveillance footage captured Mr Bynum allegedly running from the scene after the shooting of the 30-year-old.

Rashid Ali Bynum of Virginia has been arrested in connection with the February shooting death of New Jersey Republican Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour in Sayreville.

And she stated that Mr Bynum’s phone allegedly showed he had travelled from Virginia to New Jersey at the time of the killing, and the device’s data showed it return immediately afterwards.

Mr Bynum has been charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun and second-degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose.

Prosecutors have not given any motive for the killing and refused to take any questions from reporters when the arrest was announced

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