A 16-year-old autistic boy armed with a semi-automatic rifle allegedly shot and killed his parents, sister and a family friend inside their New Jersey home just minutes before midnight in a New Year’s Eve massacre.
The teenager, whose name has not been released by police, is accused of opening fire on his relatives at his home in Long Branch at about 11.45pm on Sunday night.
Police have identified the victims as the boy’s parents Steven Kologi, 44, and Linda Kologi, 42; his 18-year-old sister Brittany and 70-year-old Mary Ann Schulz who lived with the family.
His brother Steven Jr. and grandfather Adrian were uninjured in the shooting.
Neighbors told NJ.com that the boy was autistic, required special assistance and was cared for by his mom. He did not attend regular public school like his two siblings.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said the rifle used in the shooting was legally registered to a resident of the house.
The gun, described as a Century Arms semi-automatic rifle, was found at the home.
Gramiccioni described the shooting as an isolated domestic incident.
He said the teen was taken into custody without issue after officers responded to the 911 reports of a shooting at 11.43pm.
A motive for the shooting is not yet known.
The teen will be charged with four counts of murder and a weapons offence stemming from the shooting. He is expected to be charged as an adult.
‘It’s a terribly tragic incident,’ Gramiccioni said on Monday.
He said the teen is expected to make an initial court appearance on Tuesday.
A shocked family friend, Joe Rios, told the New York Post that the rifle used in the shooting belonged to the father who is a veteran.
He went on to describe the 16-year-old as the ‘nicest kid in the world’.
‘This is not something I ever thought this young boy would do. I don’t know what happened. He was not a violent kid. He was always smiling.’
Tributes flowed in for the Kologi family as friends and family woke to the news on New Year’s Day.
‘I’ve known Steve ‘Kujo’ Kologi for decades and I can say this, I’ve never had an argument or disagreement since I’ve known him,’ friend Dave Farmer wrote on Facebook.
‘He was a brother and softball brother in arms. Had your back NO MATTER WHAT! He made playing the game easy and fun as all hell. I have a heavy heart and soul this morning.’
Another friend, Isabella Marie, wrote on Facebook: ‘I love you, Linda and Brittany with my entire heart. You all made up the beat years of my life.
‘I’m so blessed to have had the time I did with your family. Thank you for protecting me from mean boys all the time too. Love you big Steve.’