New Jersey Councilman Russell Heller is fatally shot a week after the murder of another state legislator


A New Jersey council member was fatally shot in a parking lot outside his work Wednesday, just a week after another state politician was shot and killed in his car.

Russell Heller, 51, a Republican representing the Milford area, was found dead shortly after 7 a.m. in the parking lot of PSE&G, the energy company where he worked, on Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office saying.

Authorities quickly determined that a former PSE&G employee, identified as Gary T. Curtis, 58, of Washington, had approached Heller in the parking lot and shot him outside his vehicle, the prosecutor’s office said.

Detectives were able to track Curtis hours later to a parking area in Bridgewater Township, where they found him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he said. Curtis, who was in possession of a firearm at the time, was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

Detectives are still working to establish a motive in the incident, the prosecutor’s office said.

Heller’s death comes a week after Eunice Dwumfour, a fellow Republican who had represented Sayreville, was found shot to death in her vehicle near her home. Police have yet to identify a possible suspect or motive for her death.

Sayreville is about 55 miles east of Milford.

Authorities have not made any connection between the two incidents, and the prosecutor’s office said Heller’s death appeared to be an «isolated incident.»

«We are heartbroken by the tragic death of Russell Heller,» PSE&G said in a statement shared online.

The company said Heller had worked as a senior distribution supervisor and had been with the firm for more than 11 years.

«Russell was an admired employee,» he said. «He will be greatly missed by all of us and our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.» PSE&G said that he was cooperating with police in their investigation of the incident.

Tributes for Heller poured in in the hours after his death, with Governor Phil Murphy writing in Twitter: «Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Russell Heller following this tragic act of gun violence.»

«I am shocked and saddened by the tragic murder of Milford Councilmember Russell Heller,» said Republican State Representative Tom Kean Jr. saying. «Russell was an outstanding public servant who proudly represented the waterfront city he loved. My prayers are with his family and the Milford community.»

Zachary T. Rich, director of the Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners, called the shooting «senseless» and described Heller as «a dedicated and valued member of the Milford and Hunterdon County community whose leadership and commitment will miss.»

She added: «More importantly, however, Russell was a loving and caring father to his daughter and a dedicated and loyal friend to all who had the pleasure of knowing him. We join our colleagues in Milford in offering our sincerest condolences». to the Heller family at this unimaginably difficult time at their tragic loss.»

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255text HOME to 741741 or visit for additional resources.

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