A second elected Republican has been shot dead in New Jersey in just one week, with the latest victim a Republican Councilwoman from Milford.
Republican Councilman Russell Heller of Milford, New Jersey was fatally shot Wednesday night in Franklin, New Jersey outside the Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc. (PSEG, Inc.) Central Division Headquarters by a former co-worker.
“The Milford Borough Council is deeply saddened by the loss and our hearts go out to his family,” local media quoted Milford Mayor Henri Schepens. “He was so full of life, it’s just unbelievable that he’s gone. Something like this has never happened in borough history. We are very shaken by this.”
This comes exactly one week after Republican Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour of Sayreville, New Jersey was gunned down near her home.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said that Gary T. Curtis, 58, of Washington in Warren County, was identified as the suspect in the shooting. Authorities located him at 10:20 a.m. in Bridgewater, inside a car, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.
Curtis, a former PSE&G employee, shot Heller, fled the scene, and drove to Bridgewater, before killing himself. Authorities have not yet identified a motive for the killing. They believe Curtis targeted Heller—who was a long-time supervisor at PSE&G—and that this was an isolated incident.
U.S. Rep. Tom Kean Jr., a Republican representing the 7th district, shared his condolences for the councilman on social media Wednesday evening: “I am shocked and saddened by the tragic murder of Milford Councilman Russell Heller. Russell was an outstanding public servant who proudly represented the river town he loved. My prayers are with his family and the Milford community.”
In the case of Dwumfour’s killing, about one week ago, authorities have not yet arrested any suspects. The 30-year-old councilwoman was found with multiple gunshot wounds in an SUV and pronounced dead at the scene of the crime.
This news and commentary by Jacob Grandstaff originally appeared on Valiant News.