LONG BRANCH, N.J. — An unidentified 16-year-old boy has been charged with shooting and killing his mother, father, sister and a family friend minutes before midnight on New Year's Eve.
Neighbors told WPIX the boy struggled with mental illness.
The Kologi family lived in a red brick multifamily home on Wall Street in Long Branch, a beachfront town in New Jersey. When neighbors saw police outside last night, they assumed they were there to break up a party, but then they heard the gunshots.
"One boy had just a T-shirt on and no shoes. What I thought was that they ran out of there," said a neighbor, Joan Berg, when she saw several young men standing in her driveway. "The police are running up with rifles and standing behind their cars. I’m thinking, 'Oh my God, what is going on?'"
Police took the 16-year-old into custody without incident. He is not being identified because he is a minor.
Steven Kologi, 44, and his wife, Linda Kologi, 42, as well as their daughter, Brittany Kologi, 18, were all killed. Mary Schultz, 70, a family friend, was also murdered. The boy's grandfather, one of his brothers and a third person managed to slip out of the house and weren't hurt, according to the New York Daily News.
Friends of Brittany showed up on Monday night to the scene to leave flowers in her memory. They said they worked with her at a local ice cream store and they went to Long Branch High School together. They knew little about her brother, the alleged shooter.
"I only knew he was special needs," said Victoria Villanueva, Brittany's friend. "There was never an indication that there was ever a threat."
Police were called by someone who was in the home at around 11:43 p.m. Investigators said police had never been called to the house before.
The semi-automatic rifle the teen allegedly used to kill his family was legally owned and registered to someone in the home. He is facing four counts of murder and one count for the unlawful use of a weapon.
The teen was scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday in Monmouth County Superior Court, but it was pushed back until 11 a.m. after a media request to attend the hearing.
Monmouth County cases involving minors are kept confidential, but Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said during a press conference Tuesday his office is currently trying to move the case to the adult court system.