LINDEN, N.J. (PIX11) — A steady stream of classmates passed by the Nieroda home on Chatham Place in Linden to pay respects to 13-year-old Natalia Nieroda and 14-year-old Sebastian Nieroda. 

“She was funny, and she had a good personality,” said Natalia’s friend, Soreya Diaz. 

“I thought it was not real,” said friend Harley Justiniano. “I thought it was a dream.” 

The two teens were killed by their father in a murder-suicide Sunday morning. According to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, 41-year-old Krzysztof Nieroda shot his wife, Justyna, and their two children around 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Nieroda then phoned a family member before shooting himself. A neighbor told PIX11 News the call was to Nieroda’s mother in Pennsylvania. 

Both Justyna and Natalia were pronounced dead at the scene, inside their home. Sebastian was rushed to University Hospital in Newark in critical condition and died hours later. 

Cousin Alan Szurgot said he’s in shock, and that he always had a good relationship with his uncle. “We always used to hang out, always used to go camping – s’mores and everything,” said Szurgot. “We were supposed to go this year, too.”

In a statement posted to the Linden Public Schools website, Interim Superintendent Rocco G. Tomazic said, in part: 

“The death of two young lives affects us all. But we are determined, now more than ever, that we will do all that is possible to help our students and staff process the impact of this tragic event and to deal with the pain.”

The district has implemented its crisis response plan at McManus Middle School, where Natalia and Sebastian were students, as well as School No. 10, where the siblings attended elementary school. Grief counselors will be available to students and staff beginning Tuesday.