On Wednesday, a second Republican city councilman was gunned down in an overt act of political violence, just one week after another Republican city councilwoman was shot and killed outside her home.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, Milford councilman Russell Heller was attacked by a former employee in a parking lot outside of his office, and died from his injuries; his killer was later found dead of a suicide. One week prior, Sayreville councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was shot and killed while sitting in her SUV outside of her home, just 15 miles away from where Heller was killed. Local police, who described Dwumfour’s assassination as a targeted attack, say that her killer is still at large.
Congressman Tom Kean (R-N.J.) paid tribute to Heller on his Twitter, saying that “Russell was an outstanding public servant who proudly represented the river town he loved. My prayers are with his family and the Milford community.”
Governor Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) released statements about both killings, but instead simply blamed their deaths on “gun violence” rather than political violence.
The two assassinations mark a rising trend of political violence against Republicans and conservatives in the United States, as the rival Democratic Party has increased its violent rhetoric against conservatives in recent years, while simultaneously accusing the GOP of doing so. Joe Biden has frequently given speeches describing Republicans as a “threat” to democracy; in one particularly infamous speech last year in front of Independence Hall, he likened conservative Republicans, especially supporters of President Donald Trump, to fascists.