By MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press
A Virginia man was arrested Tuesday on murder and gun charges in the February killing of a local councilwoman who was found fatally shot in her SUV outside her home, New Jersey prosecutors said.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said 28-year-old Rashid Ali Bynum, of Portsmouth, Virginia, was arrested without incident on first-degree murder and two second-degree handgun charges in the death of Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour.
Ciccone said the investigation is still underway and didn’t directly address a motive in Dwumfour’s death. She said Bynum was linked to a church that Dwumfour belonged to and appeared as a contact in her phone under an acronym that investigators linked to the church.
Authorities tracked Bynum’s cellphone to the area of Sayreville, New Jersey, where Dwumfour was killed, and said a witness reported seeing someone who fits Bynum’s description in a vehicle that is connected to him, Ciccone said.
Tuesday’s announcement came nearly four months after Dwumfour was found gunned down in her white SUV outside the townhome community where she lived. Her death on Feb. 1 sent the community reeling.
Dwumfour, a Republican, was elected to her first three-year term in 2021, when she ousted a Democratic incumbent. Colleagues recalled her as a soft-spoken devout Christian who could maintain her composure in contentious situations.
Authorities announced the charges alongside Dwumfour’s family and state Attorney General Matthew Platkin, who addressed her relatives.
“There are no words that can be said to you that can make you whole. I know this,” Platkin said. “I know too often when we’re talking about victims of gun violence — senseless acts of gun violence — we feel the pain that you all feel today.”
Bynum was arrested in Chesapeake City, Virginia, and is awaiting extradition to New Jersey, Ciccone said. It’s unclear if he has an attorney who can speak on his behalf.