New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said the shooting death of 30-year-old Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour feels “very specific.”
"There's no evidence it was accidental," Murphy told WNYC's Nancy Solomon Thursday during the monthly show "Ask Governor Murphy."
But he said after speaking with local political leaders, Dwumfour’s death doesn’t appear related to her role as an elected official.
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has said little about the case since issuing an initial statement acknowledging an investigating into her death. The office said police had responded to a report of gunshots in the area of Samuel Circle Wednesday night, and found Dwumfour shot multiple times in her vehicle. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
The prosecutor’s office hasn’t said if it has any suspects, if it has identified a motive or if it believes there’s any continuing threat to the community.
Murphy, on the show, expressed confidence in Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone and other authorities investigating the case. Sayreville police have deferred any questions to Ciccone’s office, as county prosecutors typically take point on major crimes. Murphy said it didn’t seem like a case the state attorney general’s office would be involved with.
At a separate press conference, FBI officials said they were working to learn more about the incident, but deferred questions on whether they were part of the investigation.
“It will be — please God, we find this murderer asap — that [when] we recover the gun, it’ll be quite interesting to see where that came from, whether it was legally bought, whether it was in-state or out-of-state, all of the things that the law enforcement who are outstanding at this will have answers to,” Murphy said.
New Jersey suffered two setbacks in federal court in recent weeks, placing temporary restrictions on a recent law that aims to prevent people from carrying guns in so-called “sensitive places.” One order blocked enforcement in areas including museums, entertainment venues, museums and restaurants and bars that serve alcohol. The state is also barred from prohibiting guns in casinos, parks and beaches.
Murphy said on the show that guns could still be barred at casinos if their management hangs up signage banning them — and said all of New Jersey’s had done so.
The court case regarding New Jersey’s gun laws is continuing, and Murphy said his administration remains confident it’ll ultimately be found compatible with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upended strict restrictions on concealed carry of firearms that both New Jersey and New York’s gun laws had in place.
Dwumfour joined the Sayreville Borough Council last year after running as a Republican alongside current Council President Christian Onuoha. She was described by fellow officials and loved ones as deeply devoted to her Christian faith and dedicated to bettering the community. She was a liaison to the borough’s Human Relations Commission, focused on diversity and bias incidents.
Friends also said she’d been recently married, and had a pre-teen daughter from a previous relationship.
Neighbors said that Wednesday night, they heard the sound of gunshots, then Dwumfour’s vehicle crashed into two parked cars. The prosecutor’s office has not confirmed those details.