MILFORD — It was a disciplinary action and not politics that led a former employee to shoot Russell Heller in the parking lot of PSE&G's Franklin Township office Wednesday morning, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John McDonald.

Heller, 51, also an elected member of the Milford Borough Council, was found dead around 7 a.m. near his car, McDonald said.

The gunman, Gary T. Curtis, 58, was found dead around 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

McDonald on Friday disclosed that the motive for the shooting "was due to prior employment disciplinary actions between subordinate and supervisor." The prosecutor did not disclose further details about their work relationship.

Heller was a senior distribution supervisor at PSE&G for over 11 years, according to utility spokeswoman Rebecca Mazzarella.

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Curtis' Linkedin account said he was a maintenance supervisor but did not include how many years he had been with PSE&G.

The handgun used by Curtis was legally registered to him.

Map showing locations of PSE&G and TD Bank Ballpark (Canva)
Map showing locations of PSE&G and TD Bank Ballpark (Canva)

Politics didn't play a part

"The investigation has revealed that the shooting of Mr. Heller was not politically connected with his elected office or political affiliation," McDonald said in a statement.

Heller was the second Republican municipal council member to be fatally shot in New Jersey in the past week.

Eunice Dwumfour's death has remained under investigation by the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office over a week after she was fired at multiple times outside her Sayrville home. A potential motive for the shooting has not been disclosed.

"To see the lives of not one but two community leaders cut tragically short within one week is unimaginably distressing. As we mourn these losses, we are particularly praying for justice and answers in the unsolved murder of Sayreville councilwoman Eunic Dwumfour," state Republican chairman Bob Hugin said in a statement.

Gary T. Curtis
Gary T. Curtis (Somerset County Prosecutor's Office)

Processing a sudden death

The small Hunterdon County borough along the Delaware River with a population of 1,232 has been coming to grips with Heller's death.

“Our mayor and fellow council people are devastated. And his daughter, parents, and family are heartbroken beyond comprehension. Anyone who knew Russ found him to be a joy to be around,” the Milford Merchants Association said on its social media.

Milford Council President Noralie Lafevre told that Heller's parents both served as borough councilors

"51 years old he had so much more to give," Milford Mayor Henri Schepens told WFMZ TV. "He was such a light, so positive, always had a smile and always made any situation better."

McDonald asked anyone with information about the shooting to call the Somerset County Prosecutors Office Major Crimes Unit at (908) 231-7100 or the Franklin Township Police Department at (732) 873-5533.

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