Man arrested in murder of NJ Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was someone from her church: Police

Wednesday, May 31, 2023
Fellow Bible study member arrested in murder of NJ councilwoman
Police have arrested Rashid Ali Bynum in the murder of his fellow church member Sayreville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour.

NEW BRUNSWICK, New Jersey (WABC) -- The suspect charged with murdering a Sayreville councilwoman appeared in court Wednesday in Virginia ahead of his extradition.

Dwumfour was fatally shot inside her car on Feb. 1 after she dropped someone off in Sayreville.

Four months later, Rashid Ali Bynum, 28, of Portsmouth, Virginia, was taken into custody on Tuesday morning just before 11 a.m.

Police say Bynum knew Dwumfour from Fire Congress Fellowship (FCF), a church Dwumfour was previously affiliated with, which also is associated with Champion Royal Assembly Church in Newark, which was her current church.

"That is something that is vexing the family as we speak right now, family attorney John Wisniewski said.

Prosecutors announced an arrest in the murder of New Jersey councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour.

The councilwoman had traveled down to Virginia in her role as a pastor on missionary trips. Her Sayreville Council colleague and fellow pastor says Dwunfour had been counseling Bynum in her work as a pastor and helped him get on the right track.

"Stopping by, went for bible studies pretty consistently as well," Sayreville Councilman Christian Onuoha said. "Always presented himself as very calm, quiet, reserved."

Dwunfore convinced Bynum to spend more time in New Jersey and his family agreed, but the spiritual guidance ended in 2018 and no one knows if the councilwoman and her suspected killer stayed in touch.

"I just remember him being in services and always saying that he was blessed with what he was listening to, what he was learning and that he wanted to apply it into his personal life," Onuoha said.

Eyewitness News reporter Anthony Johnson spoke to a cousin of the suspect, who said Bynum had been getting spiritual guidance from missionaries from New Jersey. He adds that Bynum had psychological issues and the family thought the church would help him get in the right track. They can't believe he is now a suspect in a murder.

A fellow pastor says Dwunfour gave her heart to anyone who needed help.

"Anyone who really interacted with her whether it's in church service or public service they knew her to be very passionate and very sacrificial and I would say that was her relationship with Bynum as well," Onuoha said.

Investigators may not have a motive for this murder, but surveillance footage shows Bynum running from the scene after the shooting, Middlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said

Ciccone says a mobile phone belonging to Bynum indicated travel from Virginia to New Jersey at the time of the murder. Bynum's search history contains questions about what kind of ammunition works for his handgun.

The suspect was charged with first-degree Murder, second-degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, and second-degree Possession of a Handgun for an Unlawful Purpose.

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

Though Dwumfour was a Newark native who still has family living there, she was living in Sayreville as a single mother. She had just recently married a pastor who lives in Nigeria

"There are no words that can be said to you to make you whole," Attorney General Matthew Platkin said, addressing her relatives in the room. "I did not know Eunice. I wish I had. But I know that she was a public servant."

Dwumfour, 30, was the first sitting elected official to be killed in New Jersey in recent memory.

Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick is glad Dwumfour's family and Sayreville have more information about the tragedy as they move toward justice.

"I am so relieved that the cloud 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," Kilpatrick said.

Bynum is awaiting extradition to New Jersey where he will then be held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional facility.

RELATED | Family of murdered NJ Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour speaks out for 1st time

Eunice Dwumfour was fatally shot inside her car last month after she dropped off someone in Sayreville back on February 1st. Toni Yates has the story.


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