NJ Councilman Killed in Murder-Suicide at PSE&G Facility: Officials
For the second time in a week, a local New Jersey council member was shot and killed, according to officials, this time in what police said appeared to be a murder-suicide by a former employee at a PSE&G facility.
Multiple 911 calls started coming in just after 7 a.m. Wednesday reported a person had been shot at the PSE&G facility in Franklin Township, the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Russell Heller, a 51-year-old senior distribution supervisor at the company who also served on the borough council for Milford Township in Hunterdon County, had just gotten out of his car when he was shot and killed by a former employee in the parking lot, according to investigators.
Detectives were able to track down the suspect’s Mercedes-Benz parked a few miles away at the Bridgewater train station, where it was discovered that the shooter had taken his own life, police said. The vehicle was covered with a blue tarp for much of the afternoon as investigators in hazmat suits went in and out of the car. The firearm used in the parking lot shooting was recovered inside.
The gunman was identified as 58-year-old Gary Curtis, who used to work for the utility company. A motive behind the shooting was not immediately clear.
NJ.com reported that the mayor of Milford, Henri Schepens, said “it’s just unbelievable that he’s gone. Something like this has never happened in borough history. We are very shaken by this.”
U.S. Rep. Tom Kean said in a Facebook post that he was “shocked and saddened by the tragic murder” of Heller. Kean went on call Heller “an outstanding public servant who proudly represented the river town he loved. My prayers are with his family and the Milford community.”
The Hunterdon County Republican Party said in a statement that Heller was “a dedicated and valuable member of the Milford and Hunterdon County community whose leadership and commitment will be sorely missed,” adding that he was a “loving and caring father to his daughter and a dedicated and loyal friend to all of those who had the pleasure of knowing him.”
In a statement to NBC New York, PSE&G said “We are heartbroken at the tragic death of Russell Heller, senior distribution supervisor at PSE&G. Russell was an admired employee and a supervisor with over 11 years of service with PSE&G. He will be sorely missed by all in our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”
The statement went on to call the incident “tragic and disturbing, and we are offering support to our employees as they process this. We are cooperating with law-enforcement respect to their investigation.”
The killing comes a week after a member of a different New Jersey borough council was shot and killed outside her home. Eunice Dwumfour, 30, was found in her SUV outside a Sayreville apartment complex with multiple gunshot wounds, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office said; she was pronounced dead on scene.
A rising star for local Republicans who won an upset victory for her council seat in Sayreville in 2021 and an IT professional by trade, Dwumfour recently finished her first term on the Sayreville Borough Council. No clear motive or suspect has yet been identified by police in her death.
Source: NBC New York
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