The FBI's New Jersey office issued a statement saying it was aware of the investigation into the death of a 30-year-old council member found shot in her SUV and prepared to assist in the case as needed.
Local and county investigators, meanwhile, continued to hunt both for a motive and a suspect in the Wednesday night killing of Eunice Dwumfour, a Republican who won an upset victory for her council seat in Sayreville in 2021.
Dwumfour was found with multiple bullet wounds by officers responding to a 911 call around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday about shots fired on Samuel Circle and Sayreville. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Law enforcement sources say 14 shots were fired, and some neighbors say they saw security camera footage showing Dwumfour talking to a man standing outside her vehicle just prior to the shooting.
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The gunman escaped between two buildings and into the woods, according to police. There was no immediate speculation on his identity or whether multiple people may have been involved in Dwumfour's killing. (Obtenga los detalles en español aquí.)
The FBI's statement Friday suggested that the range of the case could go beyond Middlesex County, and offered their assistance to both Sayreville Police and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, if necessary.
Detectives were seen searching for evidence throughout the day Thursday, going through a dumpster steps from the shooting and canvassing the area downhill, where the SUV rolled afterward and crashed into parked cars.
Gov. Phil Murphy called Dwumfour's death a "shocking development," saying state police would assist local and county officials with their investigation. He said he couldn't recall the last time a gunman killed an elected official in the state.
A rising star for local Republicans and an IT professional by trade, Dwumfour won an upset victory for her council seat in 2021 and recently finished her first term. Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick praised her for her faith.
"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 into her daily life as a person and a community leader," Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Dwumfour was also the director of churches for an international ministry, Champions Royal Assembly. She was a pastor at an African Christian church in Newark. Her parents were from Ghana.
Dwumfour got married this past fall — to a man named Eze Kings, a congregant of the church — and was the mother of an 11-year-old girl. Those who spoke to NBC New York said they knew very little about her husband, other than he has spent most of his time in his homeland of Nigeria since the wedding, helping build a church there.
"She seemed to have it all, she was happy. Happy with her new husband it seems, very happy her daughter and she had the life, she was living the life — the American dream," said Sayreville GOP Chairwoman Karen Bailey Bebert.
Sayreville is about 35 miles southwest of New York City and about 65 miles northeast of Philadelphia.