A New Jersey mayor has announced she will not seek re-election after receiving a threatening letter in the wake of the unsolved murder of a local councilwoman in February.
Sayreville Mayor Victoria Kilpatrick revealed during a conference council meeting on april 10 who will step down after the end of her term after serving on the council for a decade and as mayor since 2020.
“It’s a tough decision for me because I passionately believe in this town, but I love my family more than anything in the world, and sometimes a good leader knows when it’s time to step down,” she said, overcome with emotion.
Kilpatrick said a concerning letter was sent to him and administrative staff received it and opened it.
“That letter was so egregious that it had to be immediately turned over to the authorities to be processed by forensics and so on to find out where it originated from. I never saw the letter. It was read to me” by the local police chief, he said.
He paraphrased the content of the letter to NBC New York as if to say: «More of you crooked, corrupt, ‘insert racial slurs’ politicians must go on, must go on, or I can’t wait until more of you are…» he said, gesturing openly with his hands. .
NBC News has reached out to Kilpatrick for further comment.
Kilpatrick revealed during the council meeting earlier this month that while she is no stranger to «unpleasant» and «borderline threatening» letters and messages, but since the fatal February 1 shooting of Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour , 30, «I’ve gotten even more disgusting comments.»
Dwumfour’s death has left Sayreville Township, a community of about 45,000, on edge. She was found in her vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds near her home.
NBC News has reached out to Sayreville police and the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office for comment on the current status of that investigation.
Kilpatrick said he is concerned for the safety of the town’s political leaders, as well as his own family.
“Am I worried about all of our safety? I absolutely am,” she said at the council meeting. “Am I worried about my family? Yes I am. You have a woman who was sitting here to our left who was murdered, missing, shot to death in cold blood, we don’t know why her yet.»
«When politics becomes something you’re worried about for your safety, you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?» she added.
He ultimately made the decision to leave his office seat after speaking with his two teenage daughters, NBC New York reported.
“They sat me down and said, ‘Mommy, we don’t want you to do this anymore,’” she said.
During the council meeting, he also spoke about increasing security at Borough Hall, where the council meets, and having uniformed officers present during sessions. He asked the police department to conduct a security assessment of all buildings in the township.
«I have at least 11 more meetings to be a real headache,» he said with a laugh at the council meeting. «And to hold people accountable and try to implore everyone here to do the right thing.» ”