A teenager from New Jersey has started this year (and most likely the rest of his years) in a jail cell after he was arrested for gunning down his mother, father, sister, and a neighbor on New Year’s Eve:
A New Year’s Eve celebration turned into tragedy when an autistic 16-year-old fatally shot his father, mother, sister and his grandfather’s partner at their Jersey Shore home, officials said Monday.
Scott Kologi used a semiautomatic rifle to kill his parents, Steven and Linda Kologi, his 18-year-old sister, Brittany, and 70-year-old Mary Schulz, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.
The suspect opened fire less than 20 minutes before the family would have rung in the new year at their Long Branch, N.J., home, officials said.
The Century Arms rifle was legally owned and registered to a family member in the home, Gramiccioni said, but he would not identify the person further.
Police responding to a 911 call found the four victims and arrested the 16-year-old — the youngest of four siblings — without incident.
“Thankfully it was uneventful,” Gramiccioni said of the arrest at a news conference Monday. “It didn’t require any force.”
Scott Kologi was charged as a juvenile with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of possession of a firearm for an unlawful purpose. He is expected to make an initial appearance in court on Tuesday.
It’s unclear if the suspect’s case will be elevated to adult criminal court, a spokesman for the prosecutor said.
Steven Kologi Jr., one of the gunman’s brothers, and their grandfather Adrian Kologi were also in the home at the time of the shooting but escaped injury, officials said.
“I just wish I could tell all of them how much they meant to me and how much I truly loved each and every one of them because I didn’t do that enough,” Steven Jr. wrote in an Instagram post about his slain family.
Another sibling was not in the home. The Asbury Park Press identified him as Linda Kologi’s son Jonathon from another relationship.
Scott Kologi’s grandmother Carole Kologi-Zawacki broke down in tears when she learned of the killings.
“Oh, my God, Oh, my God, Oh, my God,” Kologi-Zawacki, 66, said from her Bradenton, Fla., home.
Her husband, Gregory Zawacki, 63, said Scott is autistic.
“We didn’t know they had a gun in the house,” he said, adding that the Kologis were not gun enthusiasts or hunters.
Zawacki said his wife had recently spoken to the family by phone and everything seemed normal.
“You can hear my wife, it was totally a shock,” he said.
The shooting stunned residents of Long Branch, a middle-class beach town about an hour south of New York City. Police cordoned off the Kologis’ three-family home and the entire block surrounding it.
Neighbor Sergio Diaz, 41, said he heard the gunfire.
“I went out to get a few beers off the porch and I heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” he said. “I heard like 10 shots.”
He said he initially thought the shots were fireworks.
“Next thing I know, I see the police lights,” he said.
A neighbor who declined to give his name said Steven Kologi Sr., 44, loved to play and coach baseball.
“It’s totally out of the blue,” the neighbor said of the shooting. “He’s my son’s baseball coach, for years and years. I was the assistant coach. We’re just stunned.”
Kologi listed his occupation as a mail carrier in a 2009 bankruptcy filing. Linda Kologi, 42, was collecting unemployment at the time, according to the filing.
A GoFundMe page to raise money for the Kologi family’s funerals had collected close to $18,000 from 403 donors by early Monday.
Veronica Mass, 69, whose daughter grew up with Linda Kologi, said Scott was pulled out of school in fourth or fifth grade.
“He wasn’t getting along with the other kids,” she said. “The kids were making fun of him because he couldn’t read.”
She said Kologi had her son undergo medical tests and eventually the mom decided to teach him herself.
Steven Kologi Jr., in his Instagram post, singled out his parents for praise. (source)