Crime /

Second New Jersey Republican Elected Official Shot and Killed Within A Week

Authorities have not identified a motive, but confirmed the victim was the intended target

For the second time in only a week, a New Jersey Republican elected official has been shot and killed.

Milford Borough Councilman Russell Heller was murdered by a co-worker on Feb. 8 outside of a Public Service Enterprise Group (PSE&G) facility where he worked as a distribution manager.

Heller served as a borough councilman in Hunterdon County’s community of Milford. He was first elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2020. His death comes just a week after New Jersey Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot to death in a vehicle outside of her home.

The Somerset County Prosecutor says Gary T. Curtis, the suspected gunman, approached Heller outside of his vehicle in the PSE&G parking lot around 7 am, then shot Heller when he got out.

Detectives traced Curtis’s Mercedes-Benz to the Bridgewater train station several miles away where authorities found Curtis dead from a self-inflicted gunshot, NBC 4 New York reported.

Authorities have not yet determined a motive, but did say that Heller was the intended target.

“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 and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time,” PSE&G said in a statement. “This event is tragic and disturbing and we are offering support to our employees as they process this. We are cooperating with law enforcement with respect to their investigation. Questions about the investigation should be directed to law enforcement.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy issued the following statement shortly after the incident: “Early this morning, a deadly shooting took place outside of a PSE&G facility in Franklin Township. Our thoughts and prayers are with Russell Heller’s family and friends in the wake of this tragic act of gun violence.”

U.S. House Rep. Tom Kean posted a statement to his Facebook page offering his condolences to the family and city.

“I am shocked and saddened by the tragic murder of Milford Councilman Russell Heller,” Kean wrote. “Russell was an outstanding public servant who proudly represented the river town he loved. My prayers are with his family and the Milford community.”

Authorities have requested anyone with information related to the shooting to contact the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at 908-231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at 732-873-5533 or via the STOPit app.

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