Months after NJ councilwoman was shot dead, suspect is arrested
🔴 Eunice Dwumfour was shot on Feb. 1 in front of her Sayreville condo
🔴 Rashid Ali Bynum was arrested Tuesday in Virginia
🔴 They knew each other through their Newark church
SAYREVILLE — An arrest was announced Tuesday in the February shooting death of Republican Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said Rashid Ali Bynum, 28, of Portsmouth, Virginia, a man who knew Dwumfour through her church, was arrested Tuesday morning in Virginia at 10:45 a.m.
“This was a very complex case with painstaking police work every single moment until today and it will continue after today," Ciccone said. "The murder has shaken the community and no arrest will bring back the councilwoman.”
Investigators used cell tower records to build a case against Bynum, showing that his phone traveled from Virginia to Sayreville and back. Contacts on the phone also showed connections to Dwumfour and her church. The contact in Bynum's phone has "FCF" next to it for the Fire Congress Fellowship, the church where Dwumfour was a scrum master and business analyst.
At the time of her death Dwumfour was a member of the Champions Royal Assembly in Newark which is affiliated with the Fire Congress Fellowship. Bynum had searched the internet for information on the church and the area where Dwumour lived.
Bynum was charged with first-degree murder, second-degree unlawful possession of a handgun, and second-degree possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. He is awaiting extradition from Virginia.
The prosecutor did not disclose a motive for the shooting.
Dwumfour's killing rattled the community, even prompting Sayreville's mayor to give up politics. Dwumfour's family has also been frustrated by what seemed like a long investigation with no announcements until Tuesday.
Acknowledging the months since the killing, state Attorney General Matt Platkin and Ciccone said investigators went to great lengths in their investigation. Platkin also expressed his condolences to the Dwumfour family which was present at the media briefing.
"I know too often when we're talking about victims of senseless acts gun violence we feel the pain that you all feel today," Platkin said.
The 30-year-old first-term Republican member of Sayreville Borough Council was gunned down in front of her condo while she was sitting in her SUV on Feb. 1.
She was elected to the Sayreville Borough Council in 2021 and also served on the Human Relations Commission.
Ciccione has not held any briefing until Tuesday regarding the case and had not offered any indication of the state of the investigation.
Attorney John Wisniewski, a former state legislator, was hired by her frustrated family to arrange for a meeting with Ciccione as they were also not receiving regular updates on the case.
He brought evidence to the prosecutor's office attention including a borough-issued cell phone that was found in a storage unit where her belongings were being held.
She is mother to a 12-year-old girl from a previous relationship. Her husband, Peter Ezechukwu, lives in Nigeria after being married in the United States. He came to the United States for her memorial service and has remained here with Dwumfour's family.
Homicide ends a political career
The shooting also led Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick, a Democrat who said she was a close friend of Dwumfour's, to not seek re-election after she received numerous emails and letters she said were "bordering on threatening."
"I've received some of the most vicious, nastiest language that I have ever even could consider being spewed out of a human being," Kilpatrick said. "They've been sent to me privately, they were posted on social media publicly referencing how fat I am, how disgusting I am and all kinds of things."
One letter received at the township clerk's office was so "heinous" it had to be turned over to police to be forensically processed to find its origin.