An arrest has been made in the murder of a councilwoman in Sayreville, New Jersey, and the person who is being charged with the crime knew her.
Police say that they took 28-year-old Rashid Ali Bynum into custody Tuesday morning, charging him with murdering Eunice Dwumfour, who was a councilwoman in Sayreville. She was shot while she was in her car after dropping someone off on February 1.
The suspect appeared in a Virginia court on Wednesday, ahead of his extradition to New Jersey to face the charges there. Bynum lives in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Police say that the suspect knew his victim from a church which Dwumfour used to be affiliated with, Fire Congress Fellowship. That church is affiliated with the church that the councilwoman was currently attending in Newark – Champion Royal Assembly Church.
John Wisniewski, who serves as Dwumfour’s family attorney, commented this week about the connection between the suspect:
“That is something that is vexing the family as we speak right now.”
Dwumfour served as a pastor for various missionary trips, and one of those brought her to Virginia along with one of her colleagues on the Sayreville Council, Christian Onuoha, who is also a pastor.
In her role as a pastor, Dwumfour was counseling Bynum, helping him to get on the right path in life. As Onuoha said of the suspect:
“Stopping by, went for Bible studies pretty consistently as well. Always presented himself as very calm, quiet, reserved.”
After counseling him for a while, the councilwoman convinced the suspect that he should spend additional time in New Jersey, which his family agreed to. In 2018, though, Dwumfour no longer counseled Bynum on a spiritual basis, and people aren’t sure at this point whether the two remained 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.”
A reporter from a local ABC News station in New Jersey spoke to one of Bynum’s cousins, who told the news outlet that the suspect was working with missionaries in New Jersey to get spiritual guidance. The cousin said Bynum did have some psychological issues, and his family believed that working with people in the church would help him dearly.
Now, the family is in shock that Bynum is a suspect in Dwumfour’s murder.
Yolanda Ciccone, a prosecutor for Middlesex County in New Jersey, said that investigators don’t have a motive for the murder at this point. However, footage from surveillance cameras clearly shows that Bynum ran from the murder scene after the shooting took place.
Ciccone added that Bynum’s mobile phone indicated that he traveled to New Jersey from Virginia around the time that the murder took place. His recent internet search history also revealed that he asked questions related to the type of ammunition that was needed for a handgun that he owned.
Bynum has been charged with multiple crimes, including murder (first degree), unlawful possession of a handgun (second degree) and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose (second degree).