Violent crime has become a serious issue over the last three years.
Not even public officials are immune from the devastation.
Now another Republican official has been the victim of a horrific crime.
Russell Heller makes the second New Jersey Republican Councilman to get murdered in a two-week span.
Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot and killed while sitting in her car just outside her home in a reportedly “targeted” killing.
Heller was shot to death outside his vehicle in the parking lot of energy company PSE&G, where Heller worked as a senior distribution supervisor.
Two scenes where Republican council members were slain are just some 15 miles apart
A few hours later, the police tracked down Heller’s alleged killer, 58-year-old Gary Curtis, who was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a nearby parking lot.
Thus far, authorities say the two murders are not linked or politically motivated, but the investigations are ongoing.
Heller served on the Milford Borough Council, which is 40 miles west of Sayreville where Dwumfour served.
Deputy Chief Frank Roman Jr. wrote in a statement that the “investigation has revealed that the shooting of Mr. Heller was not politically connected with his elected office or political affiliation.”
Milford Borough Mayor Henry Schepens added, “This is such a crazy, dreadful and random coincidence…But there’s no connection with the other councilwoman, except that they both cared for their communities and were diligent public servants.”
The 51-year-old Heller had worked at PSE&G for over a decade.
The company wrote in a statement, “We are heartbroken at the tragic death of Russell Heller, a 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. 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.”
This is the second time in such a short time frame that Governor Phil Murphy had to address the violent murder of a public official.
He wrote, “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.”
Murphy attempted to weave in a gun control narrative, but New Jersey already has some of the most restrictive laws in the country.
No law could have prevented these seemingly premeditated murders.
Nevertheless, gun control activists regularly claim that disarming law-abiding citizens and stripping them of the ability to protect themselves, would somehow decrease violent crime.
Stay tuned to Blue State Blues for any updates to this ongoing story.