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 just as the ball dropped on New Year's Eve.
Neighbors say the boy struggled with mental illness. A friend of the family said the teen has special needs.
The Kologi family lived in a red brick multi-family home on Wall Street in Long Branch. 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," a neighbor, Joan Berg, said she saw several young men standing in her driveway, "what I thought was that they ran out of there."
"The police are running up with rifles and standing behind their cars," added Berg, "I’m thinking oh my God what is going on?"
Police took the 16-year-old into custody without incident. He has not been 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.
Friends of Brittany Kologi showed up to the scene on Monday night 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 say 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.
"Boy was schizophrenic," said another neighbor. "Yes, sick. In hospital, in house, in hospital, house."
The teen will make his first court appearance tomorrow at around 10 a.m. in Monmouth County Superior Court. It will be closed to the media and to the public because he is a minor.