NJ Republican councilwoman’s murder suspect is arrested. Who is he?
🔴 Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot dead February outside her home
🔴 Prosecutors kept quiet for months until they announced an arrest on Tuesday
🔴 This is what we know so far about the suspect
The family of Eunice Dwumfour is not familiar with Rashid Ali Bynum, the Virginia man arrested and charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and handgun charges in connection to her killing in February.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolonda Ciccone said Bynum, 28, was arrested Tuesday morning in Virginia and is being held pending extradition to New Jersey.
The attorney representing her family, former Assemblyman John Wisniewski, said that while her family's question of who shot the Sayreville Republican appears to have been answered, more questions have now been raised.
"Clearly they are satisfied that someone has been identified who was accused of murdering their daughter, sister, mother. They had one question up until this point in time: Who? Now that there's an accused who, they have far many more questions. Why? What is this person's connection to Eunice? What was it that led this person to believe what he's alleged to have done was a solution to some dispute or problem or issue," Wisniewski told New Jersey 101.5 after the arrest was announced.
Suspect and victim lived in both states
Dwumfour, 30, had lived in Virginia at one point, according to Wisniewski, and Bynum had lived in Sayreville. But beyond that, he did not know the nature of their relationship.
The New Jersey Globe reported that Bynum met Dwumfour when he lived at the Skytop Gardens Apartments in Parlin in 2017. The apartments are located less than a mile on Ernston Road from the Camelot at LaMer condos where Dwumfour was shot.
Ciccione did not disclose a motive for the shooting during a media briefing Tuesday and took no questions. In New Jersey, court rules designed to ensure fair trials restrict prosecutors from discussing criminal cases beyond limited details. More information about the investigation, including theories as to motive, could be revealed during pre-trial hearings in a courtroom.
Family didn't know Rashid Ali Bynum
Wisniewski said that it's not unusual for a family not to know all the friends and acquaintances of their daughter or sister.
"At that young age, there were probably a lot of people in my life my parents were unaware of. And so I don't think it's entirely unusual that there is a person that Eunice knew that perhaps her mom and dad were unaware of or that her pastor was unaware of," Wisniewski said.
Detectives linked suspect to victim
Detectives found Dwumfour's contact in his phone, listed as "FCF" for the Fire Congress Fellowship, the church where Dwumfour was a scrum master and business analyst. It is associated with the Champions Royal Assembly, a Newark church where Dwumfour was a leader.
Wisniewski said Tuesday's media briefing came together quickly and not all family members could attend. Detectives have also not spoken to all the members of Dwumfour's family, members of her church, or other borough elected officials.
More people involved in the shooting?
There are other questions as to the timing of the Feb. 1 shooting in Wisniewski's mind that could mean other people were involved in the shooting.
"How would the shooter know where Eunice was going to be and at what time? Don't forget she was coming back from a shopping trip to the local grocery store. That's not something you set your watch by. So did this person have advanced knowledge of her schedule? Did this person have somebody else advising them as to her movements and where she would be? We don't know the answer to that at this point in time," Wisniewski said.
Suspect has a criminal record
Bynum appears to have an extensive criminal record in both Virginia and New Jersey.
Criminal records from the Virginia Judiciary show a Rashid Ali Bynum of Portsmouth, Virginia, was arrested there on April 1, 2020, on multiple counts of credit card felony and credit card forgery, as well as reckless driving, eluding and fleeing law enforcement.
There are also various motor vehicle and suspended license charges including 2016 and 2019 for Rashid A Bynum with the same birthday.
New Jersey Globe says the accused killer lived in Parlin in 2017 and had four summonses connected to a June 2019 traffic stop in Cranbury.
A community begins to heal
Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kirkpatrick, who was stressed at times about the lack of communication from Ciccione following Dwunfour's death, said in a statement the borough was deeply appreciative of the efforts of law enforcement in making the arrest of Bynum.
"Today we can start the healing process for Councilwoman Dwumfour's family, friends and the Sayreville community. We will keep the memory of Eunice and her unwavering service to this town alive as the vessel of light she was for all," Kirkpatrick wrote.
Erin Vogt contributed to this report.
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