Fundraiser to help surviving members of gunned-down Long Branch family
OCEANPORT —As the first funeral was held for one of the victims of the New Year's Eve shooting that claimed the lives of four members of a family, planning was underway for a fundraiser for the surviving members.
Mary Schulz was laid to rest on Saturday at St. Jerome Church in West Long Branch. Prosecutors say the 70-year-old was gunned down along with Steven Kologi, his wife Linda, and daughter Brittany on by their 16-year-old son.
Schulz was the lifelong companion of Adrian Kologi, who managed to escape the Long Branch home with his grandson and a family acquaintance.
The Kologis will be laid to rest on Monday following 11 a.m. Mass at St. Michael's Church in Long Branch. Visitation is Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Woolley-Boglioli Funeral Home, 10 Morrell St., Long Branch.
Jim Gallo and Anthony "Bubba" Gaetano have organized a fundraiser for the surviving family, which includes sons Jonathon Ruiz and Steven Kologi, at the William Hill Sports Bar in Monmouth Park Racetrack on Friday. The evening includes dinner and live music.
"After hearing about the (shooting) everybody was talking New Year's Day about it," Gaetano said. He said the event has "snowballed bigger than we thought it would be."
Gaetano said he and fellow firefighter Gallo have lined up a number of local bands to perform. Several businesses have donated large prizes to be raffled off on Friday night.
"We're hoping for a big turnout that night and people will spend money that night," Gaetano said. He said no one will be turned away and said the grandstand area of the track can accommodate the overflow.
"There's a lot of immediate needs. When you think about it, Steven is 20 years old, turns around and there's nothing there. It's a pretty big thing to take. There's not a big extended family there."
Long Branch High School Class of 1993 alumni are donating items for the raffle, Gaetano said.
The evening will be hosted by 94.3 The Point's Jasmine Rodriguez, who went to high school with Steve Kologi.
"It's a shame we all have to get together under these kinds of circumstances but something happens tragically like this does bring people back together and reminds people about how short life is. That's why I want to do this and give back to the family," Rodriguez said.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni is trying to have the teen tried as an adult. Until a decision is reached, Gramiccioni's office is under a gag order by the juvenile Family Court banning them from releasing information on the case.