A 16-year-old New Jersey boy gunned down his parents, sister and a family friend just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, turning the family home into a bloodbath that his brother and grandfather managed to escape, authorities said Monday.
The teenager fatally shot his father, mother, sister and a family friend who also lived in the Long Branch, New Jersey home, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni said in a statement. Police were called to the home around 11:43 p.m., and the suspect was taken into custody without incident, Gramiccioni said.
“We are confident that this is a domestic incident that is completely isolated,” Gramiccioni said. “It’s a terribly tragic incident.”
The boy’s name was not released, but the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office identified the deceased as: Steven Kologi, 44; Linda Kologi, 42; Brittany Kologi, 18; and Mary Schultz, 70. Schultz was identified as a “family acquaintance” by the prosecutor’s office.
The alleged suspect’s brother and grandfather were also at the home at the time of the shooting but were able to escape unharmed, Gramiccioni said during a Monday news conference.
The teenager is believed to have used a Century Arms “semi-automatic assault rifle” to gun down his family members and the family friend, authorities said. The gun was legally owned and registered to a family member, Gramiccioni said.
Gramiccioni declined to comment on the suspect’s motive or a possible mental disability when asked by reporters. He did say the attack was an “isolated” domestic incident.
“The Kologis were very caring, loving people and always looking to do fun things with their kids,” Walter Montelione, Linda Kologi’s cousin, told WCBS-TV. “He was a good kid. He was a little, you know, slow with learning disabilities, but he knows right from wrong.”
Jalen Walls went to school with Brittany Kologi and lives a few blocks away from the home. He told NJ.com that the suspected shooter was cared for by his mother as he required special assistance.
“But he was fully functional and comprehended what we were saying,” Walls told the news outlet.
Dave Farmer said in a Facebook tribute that he played softball with Steven Kologi and “never had an argument or disagreement since” with him.
‘I’m proud to say publicly that I knew and loved this man unconditionally and always told him when we parted, ‘I love you brotha!!!’” Farmer said.
The teenager could be charged as an adult, officials said.
Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the Long Branch Police Department have launched a joint investigation into the murders.