Sayreville community in shock following fatal shooting of councilwoman
SAYREVILLE – The community remained in a state of shock following the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Borough Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour Wednesday evening.
Dwumfour was found dead in her vehicle with several gunshot wounds by Sayreville police officers who went to Samuel Circle off Ernston Road in the Parlin section after receiving a 911 call at 7:22 p.m. of gunshots fired, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone.
The location was near her home on Pointe of Woods Drive in the Camelot at La Mer community near the Garden State Parkway.
County, borough and police officials had not provided any further information about the killing by Thursday evening, including whether there was a threat to the community. Questions about this incident were asked at a press conference in Newark on Thursday where federal, state and local authorities gathered for the initial court appearance of the defendant charged with firebombing a Bloomfield synagogue.
"The FBI is aware of that incident and we are working with all of our partners in order to find out more about that incident," FBI Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said of the fatal shooting of Dwumfour. Dennehy declined to respond to further questions as to whether the FBI is officially part of the investigation.
"As a community we are shocked and saddened at the loss of Eunice Dwumfour,” Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said in a statement. “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.”
Dwumfour, a Republican, won her seat on the Council in 2021. She was the Council's liaisons to Public Safety and the Sayreville Human Relations Commission. She also served on the Public Works and Recreation committees.
USA Today Network New Jersey reached the councilwoman's father by phone.
He said his daughter was living in Sayreville with her 12-year-old girl from a prior relationship.
"She was very humble, had respect," he said.
Her sister, Priscilla, 20, said Eunice, who was born in the United States, was deeply wrapped up in her Christian faith. She attended church at Champions Royal Assembly on Broad Street in Newark.
"She was always happy," Priscilla said.
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On her LinkedIn profile, Dwumfour stated she was director of churches for Champions Royal Assembly from May 2015 to the present. She recently sent out a message on LinkedIn saying she was looking to make a change, although she did not specify from what.
"Hi everyone - I am looking for a new role and would appreciate your support. Thank you in advance for any connections, advice, or opportunities you can offer," the post, listed a month ago, reads.
A sign for the church can be seen on the second floor at 982 Broad St. On Thursday afternoon the door to the storefront nearest to it on the first floor was padlocked shut. The sign listed hours for the church for Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. No one answered any of the three phone numbers listed on the sign.
Marybeth Sgrillo, a neighborhood resident, told USA Today Network New Jersey she was stunned by what happened outside her home.
"I heard loud gunshots, at least five in a row, and then I think there was a little delay and then I think five more. Something you would hear, you know, if somebody wanted to kill somebody,” Sgrillo said. “It was very loud, I live right here, it was like it was right outside the door.”
She was still shaken up and surprised that such a brutal incident happened so close.
“Not in Sayreville, not in this complex. You can walk your dog at night," she said. "My heart is still pounding, my heart, it still thumping away. It was scary."
She recalled how the councilwoman presented herself in her neighborhood.
"She was always dressed up so nice and pretty," she said. "It was bad, it had to be bad.”
Chyann Brown, another neighborhood resident, said she had just gotten home Wednesday evening when the police arrived on scene.
She said she could see bullet casings in the road and that Dwumfour’s car had rolled down the street into another car.
Brown lives next door to Dwumfour’s sister and has interacted with Dwumfour and her daughter on many occasions.
“She was a really sweet lady,” she said. “Never in any altercations."
The mayor also said that Dwumfour 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.
“We are confident that our police department working collaboratively with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will bring this fast-moving investigation to a quick and successful conclusion and look forward to the identification, arrest, and successful prosecution of the person responsible,” Kilpatrick said.
Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement he was "stunned" to hear of the murder.
"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," Murphy said in the statement. "I send my condolences to Councilwoman Dwumfour’s family and friends, her governing body colleagues, and the entire Sayreville community. Sayreville is a proud, tight-knit, and safe community and I know that it will come together, as it always has, in common purpose. "
Murphy said the New Jersey State Police are supporting the investigation.
"We remember Eunice for how she lived, not for how she died," Sayreville Republican Chair Karen Bailey Bebert said in a statement. "She was the embodiment of Sayreville, living the American Dream, overcoming challenges with grit and a smile. And always giving of time and love to others. She embodied Sayreville and will be terribly missed by all who were fortunate enough to know her."
Authorities are asking anyone with information or surveillance footage of the area to call Sayreville Detective Rebecca Morales at 732-727-4444 or Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Michelle Coppola at 732-745-3477.
Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Sayreville NJ in shock after shooting of Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour