NJ teen accused of killing family on New Year’s Eve to appear in court

LONG BRANCH, N.J. — A teen accused in the shooting deaths of his parents, sister and family friend on New Year's Eve is expected to appear in court for his first hearing Wednesday.

The 16-year-old is being charged as a juvenile and therefore his name has not been released, but prosecutors want to try him as an adult on murder charges.

The Kologi family — parents Steven, 44, and Linda, 42, their daughter Brittany, 18, and a family friend identified as Mary Schulz, 70, — were all shot multiple times at close range with a semi-automatic assault rifle legally owned by a family member.

The boy's grandfather, his brother and a family friend, a woman in her 20s, escaped the house uninjured. Someone in the home called 911.

There was no struggle or standoff as police took the 16-year-old into custody moments before midnight on New Year's Eve.

The prosecutor called the shooting an isolated domestic violence incident, and said there have been no prior calls to police of any family violence.

On Tuesday, the Kologis' neighbors and friends gathered for a candlelight vigil, consoling each other with hugs and sharing tears over the loss of a family.

Those who loved the victims were still in shock over the deaths.

“Everyone was invited to their house at any time,” a friend said. “Every synonym for ‘great’ put together wouldn’t even describe this family.”

The rifle allegedly used in the crime, a semi-automatic made by Century Arms, had been legally purchased by someone in the home who escaped the shooting, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.

Charges weren't being contemplated against the gun's owner, he said. Under New Jersey law, a gun owner can be charged with a disorderly persons offense if a minor gains access to a gun the owner didn't secure in a locked container or with a trigger lock.

Gramiccioni said his office has 60 days to file a motion to have the case transferred to adult court, a move he said he planned to make "sooner rather than later."

The boy is represented by the Monmouth County public defender's office, which didn't return a voicemail seeking comment on the case Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.