What to Know
- A 16-year-old opened fire on his parents, sister and a family friend on New Year's Eve, killing them, prosecutors said
- Shots rang out at the home in Long Branch, New Jersey, just before midnight
- The 16-year-old is in custody and charged with four counts of first-degree murder
A 16-year-old boy who allegedly used a semi-automatic rifle to gun down his parents, sister and a family friend just before midnight on New Year's Eve, killing all of them, in the home where they all lived is due in court Wednesday.
The teenager, whose identity has not been released, is being held at Middlesex County Juvenile Detention Center on four counts of first-degree murder and weapons offenses, according to officials.
The teen shot the victims multiple times at close range, prosecutors said.
An initial court appearance the teenager was supposed to make on Tuesday was postponed a day as the judge weighed a request by a media organization to open the proceeding to the public.
Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the slayings at the family home on Wall Street in Long Branch but say they may seek to move the case to adult court. In the meantime, the boy's name is being withheld.
The victims have been identified by officials as his parents, Steven and Linda Kologi, 44 and 42 respectively, his sister, 18-year-old Brittany Kologi, and a 70-year-old family friend, Mary Schultz, who lived in the home.
The boy allegedly went room to room to find his victims. A brother, grandfather and another family friend heard the shots and ran.
"They were in that home and I think once they heard that, like any human nature, they ran from it," said Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.
Officials say police recovered a semi-automatic rifle at the home, which was legally owned and registered to the address where the shooting happened.
Family friend Ronnie Pacheco described Steven Kologi as a devoted father.
"He loved his kids to death, Pacheco said. "He loved all his kids to death. He did everything that he could to help his family. He treated all his kids the same."
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The prosecutor will try to have the case tried as an adult. Sources say the teen went to a private-needs school in Eatontown.
Gramiccioni called the case heartbreaking.
"We seek justice for the remaining family members and those who died," he said. "The sad fact is that justice is likely going to involve serious punishment."