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BY Francis Akhalbey, 8:45am May 31, 2023,

Suspect arrested in shooting death of Ghanaian-American councilwoman

Rashid Ali Bynum, 28, is accused of fatally shooting New Jersey councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour -- Left photo credit: AP | Right photo credit: Sayreville GOP

Eunice Dwumfour, a New Jersey councilwoman of Ghanaian descent, was fatally shot outside her home on February 1 in what authorities labeled as a possible targeted attack. Four months after the fatal incident, authorities on Tuesday finally arrested a man in connection with her murder. 

According to ABC7 New York, the suspect, identified as 28-year-old Rashid Ali Bynum, was arrested in Virginia. Police said the victim and Bynum knew each other from a church she initially had ties with. The church, Fire Congress Fellowship (FCF), is also associated with the Newark-based Champion Royal Assembly Church, which Dwumfour was attending when she was alive.

“That is something that is vexing the family as we speak right now,” John Wisniewski, the attorney for Dwumfour’s family, said. Middlesex County Prosecutor, Yolanda Ciccone, also said that though the motive for the murder is unclear at this time, Bynum was linked to the murder through surveillance footage, as he was captured fleeing the scene in the wake of the shooting.

Records obtained from the suspect’s phone also showed he traveled to New Jersey from Virginia at the time Dwumfour was killed, Ciccone said. His search history also revealed he inquired about the type of ammunition that best suits his handgun. 

“The murder has shaken the community, and no arrest will bring back the late councilwoman,” Ciccone said.

Bynum faces a slew of charges including first-degree Murder, second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, and second-degree Possession of a Handgun for an Unlawful Purpose, ABC7 New York reported.

“There are no words that can be said to you to make you whole,” Attorney General Matthew Platkin told the deceased councilwoman’s family. “I did not know Eunice. I wish I had. But I know that she was a public servant.”

Dwumfour was elected as a Sayreville councilwoman in 2021. Outside politics, the deceased Republican Party member worked as a business analyst and part-time emergency medical technician, ABC News reported. She was also a leader at her local church. Speaking to reporters after the murder, New Jersey governor, Phil Murphy, said Dwumfour was the state’s first incumbent official in recent memory to be fatally shot. 

“I am so relieved that the crowd that was in Sayreville right now, wondering who would hurt this beautiful woman, would come into our community to do this, and now at least somebody is in custody,” Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick said.

Bynum is yet to be extradited to New Jersey, where he will appear for a pre-trial detention hearing in Superior Court. Dwumfour is survived by a husband and a daughter.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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