Long Branch teen ‘riddled’ family with shots at close range, prosecutor says
FREEHOLD BOROUGH — A 16-year-old special-needs boy shot his parents, sister and family friend at close range, pumping several rounds from a semi-automatic rifle into each one, authorities revealed Tuesday.
The teen is accused by Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni of using a Century Arms semi-automatic rifle late on New Year's Eve to gun down his father, Steven Kologi, 44; his mother, Linda, 43; 18-year-old sister Brittany; and family friend Mary Schulz, 70.
An initial court appearance for the teen, who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder, was delayed until Wednesday after lawyers for the Asbury Park Press requested that the hearing be opened to the public. A judge did not decide on the request Tuesday.
It is still not clear what motivated the massacre. Gramiccioni said prosecutors do not have to explain a motive as an element of a murder charge, but told reporters to "stay tuned" as the case moves forward in court.
Gramiccioni intends to charge the teen as an adult. A judge has until next month to decide whether to waive the teen up to adult court.
Gramiccioni said the teen's psychological or developmental disabilities have not been a consideration for prosecutors.
The teen is being represented by a public defender.
Gramiccioni said the bodies were "riddled" with shots at close range by the suspect, whose weapon held 15 rounds.
Gramiccioni said the shootings were "fairly sudden and quick" and investigators believe that they had "no chance to escape."
Schulz was a resident of Oakhurst and had a close relationship with Adrian Kologi, the suspect's grandfather, who escaped the shooting.
A third person, a woman in her early 20s who was an acquaintance of a family member, escaped the home along with a brother and grandfather. Authorities on Monday had said just two people had escaped.
Several cats and a dog in the home were not harmed.
Gramiccioni said the weapon had been "lawfully acquired" by a living member of the household. He would not disclose how the teen was able to get his hands on the gun.
The prosecutor did not think that any financial difficulties the family was having played a role in the shooting. According to federal court filings, the couple filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2009, declaring nearly half a million dollars in car payments, credit card bills and real estate debt.
The bankruptcy petition said Steven Kologi worked as a mailman while Linda was collecting unemployment insurance.
A Twitter account that appeared to belong to the teen's mother included several messages about her contemplating suicide over a period of at least two years.
Gramiccioni reiterated that under New Jersey law he cannot disclose the teen's identity because he is a minor. He has been widely identified in media reports as Scott Kologi.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m Tuesday at Franklin Lake Park off Locust Avenue in West Long Branch.
A GoFundMe page established by family friend has exceeded a goal of $20,000 for funeral arrangements, which have not yet been announced.
Dino Flammia contributed to this report