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Eunice Dwumfour killing: Rashid Aly Bynum arrested in murder of Sayreville, N.J. councilwoman

Arrest made in murder of NJ councilwoman 4 months after shooting death
Arrest made in murder of NJ councilwoman 4 months after shooting death 02:14

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Authorities announced an arrest in the murder of Sayreville, New Jersey, Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour

Dwumfour was gunned down as she sat in her car outside her house on Feb. 1. She was a member of the Sayreville borough council. 

The killing shocked many, not just in New Jersey, but across the country. 

Officials announce arrest in killing of NJ Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour 09:37

Authorities identified the suspect as Rashid Ali Bynum, 28. The prosecutor said he was arrested Tuesday in Chesapeake City, Virginia, and charged with first-degree murder and weapons possession. He is awaiting extradition to New Jersey. 

"I hope today is the beginning of a healing process," New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin said. 

Investigators said Bynum was tracked down through his mobile device and was captured on surveillance video fleeing the scene.

Authorities said the two knew each other through the church Fire Congress Fellowship.    

"A search of the victim's phone revealed Bynum as a contact in Eunice Dwumfour's phone with the acronym FCF. FCF is believed to be an acronym for the Fire Congress Fellowship, a church the victim was previously affiliated with, which is also associated with the Champion Royal Assembly, the victim's church at the time of her death," Middlesex Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said. 

Authorities did not reveal a motive in the murder, but said before the murder, Bynum did a search of the church online, as well as looked into what magazines were compatible with a specific handgun. The prosecutor said a handgun was recovered at his residence.

"This was a very complex, extensive case with painstaking police work every single moment," Ciccone said.

On the night of the murder, multiple calls were made to 911. Witnesses described the suspect and a suspicious parked white Hyundai that was spotted minutes before the attack. Officials say E-ZPass logged the  vehicle traveling from Virginia to New Jersey and back around the time of the murder. Prosecutors say they also tracked Bynum's cell phone.

"A mobile phone traveled from Virginia to New Jersey and, after the murder, immediately returned to Virginia thereafter," Ciccone said.

The prosecutor also says the car the suspect was in was registered to multiple people.

Watch Christine Sloan's report

Arrest made in shooting death of Sayreville councilwoman 02:21

Dwumfour's family attended the press conference but did not say anything.   

Their attorney says they are still looking for answers.

"The family has been praying -- they're a prayful family -- they've been praying that there is some breakthrough in this case, and their prayers were answered today. But now they are trying to also understand the relationship, how this person came to target Eunice," attorney John Wisniewski said.

Wisniewski says the family does not recognize the suspect's name nor his photo.

"Eunice had been involved in that church. Apparently, the person accused of this murder had been involved in that church. Whether it is as a relationship to their knowing one another in the church or for some other reason is certainly not clear," he said.

The Republican councilwoman was shot and killed in her SUV four months ago this week right outside her home in the Parlin section of Sayreville

Witnesses said after she was shot, her SUV rolled down the street at the development. 

Born to Ghanaian parents, Dwumfour graduated from William Paterson University in 2017. Four years later, she became the first Black person elected to a Sayreville council seat.

"We want to thank the law enforcement community, especially the Sayreville Police and Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, for their diligent and dedicated efforts in investigating the murder of Councilwoman Dwumfour," said Senator Joseph Vitale, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez. "This is welcome news to the Sayreville community, and we are confident justice will be served. We hope this will bring some measure of comfort to Councilwoman Dwumfour's family. Our community's prayers continue to be with them."

Bynum is expected to be extradited to New Jersey.

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