A New Jersey councilman was found dead in a parking lot Wednesday morning in a suspected murder-suicide one week after the slaying of Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour.
Authorities said that Russell Heller, a 51-year-old Republican city council member in Milford, was fatally shot in the parking lot of PSE&G, a local energy company where he worked. Roughly three hours after discovering Heller, police found and identified 58-year-old Gary Curtis, one of Heller’s former coworkers, as the suspect. Curtis was found dead from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound, NJ.com reported.
“It is with great sadness and shock that we offer our condolences to the family of Milford Councilman Russell Heller — an outstanding public servant and devoted father,” said New Jersey Republican Party State Committee Chairman Bob Hugin in a statement shared with The Daily Wire. “To see the lives of not one but two community leaders cut tragically short within one week is unimaginably distressing. As we mourn these losses, we are particularly praying for justice and answers in the unsolved murder of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour. May God bless both of their memories.”
Police believe that Curtis allegedly murdered Heller before fleeing the scene and driving to nearby Bridgewater, where he shot himself in his car. No motive has been revealed.
Heller was last elected to the city council in 2020.
“I am shocked and saddened by the tragic murder of Milford Councilman Russell Heller,” said Rep. Tom Kean (R-NJ), whose district includes Milford. “Russell was an outstanding public servant who proudly represented the river town he loved. My prayers are with his family and the Milford community.”
“The Milford Borough Council is deeply saddened by the loss and our hearts go out to his family,” Milford Mayor Henri Schepens said, according to NJ.com. “He was so full of life, it’s just unbelievable that he’s gone. Something like this has never happened in borough history. We are very shaken by this.”
Heller’s slaying came exactly one week after 30-year-old Dwumfour, another New Jersey GOP council member, was found dead in the driver’s seat of her white Nissan SUV after being shot as many as 14 times as she pulled up to her Sayreville home, around 50 miles east of where Heller was found dead.
Since Dwumfour’s murder, authorities have not made any arrests or revealed any information about a suspect or motive, causing frustration from the 30-year-old deceased councilwoman’s parents.
“So far, we haven’t heard anything yet,” Eunice’s father Prince Dwumfour told the New York Post on Tuesday.
The prosecutor’s office investigating the murder of Dwumfour has requested an injunction to block news outlets from obtaining important information about the case, arguing that releasing any information to the public about the councilwoman’s death would hinder law enforcement’s investigation.