US & Canada

New Jersey boy 'murdered family and friend on New Year's Eve'

From left to right: Brittany Kologi, Steven Kologi Jnr, Scott Kologi and parents Steven Kologi, 44, Linda Kologi Image copyright Facebook
Image caption From left to right: Brittany Kologi, Steven Kologi Jnr (who escaped unharmed), Scott Kologi with parents Steven Kologi and Linda Kologi

A 16-year-old is accused of shooting his parents, sister and a family friend at home on New Year's Eve.

The boy has not been officially identified, but neighbours identified him as Scott Kologi.

Police received a call about the shooting from inside the home in the beachfront city of Long Branch on Sunday night at 23:43 local time.

Officials say the semi-automatic rifle used in the attack was legally owned by a resident.

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Authorities have not divulged a motive for the suspect, who they say will be prosecuted as an adult and was taken into custody without incident.

Image copyright Gofundme
Image caption Linda and Steven Kologi were among four found dead in the home

He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday to face four counts of murder and one weapons charge.

Steven Kologi, 44, Linda Kologi, 42, Brittany Kologi, 18, and Mary Schultz, 70, were found dead in the home about 30 miles (48km) from New York City, said officials.

The boy's grandfather and older brother were not targeted and escaped unharmed.

"The grandfather of the suspect as well as the brother of the suspect thankfully left the home," Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni told a press conference on Monday.

He said the family had no history of domestic violence known to police.

"It's a terribly tragic incident," the prosecutor added.

Neighbours told local media that Scott Kologi has autism, and did not attend the local high school unlike his older brother and sister.

Veronica Mass, a family friend, told NJ.com the Kologis "were a close-knit family".

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Image caption Brittany Kologi had just finished her first term of university

Mrs Mass said Scott had been home-schooled by his mother since he was about nine years old, after he struggled academically and was bullied by other students at school.

"He improved dramatically after being home-schooled," Mrs Mass told NJ.com.

"He learned to read, did his math. He got up to where he was supposed to be."

Several neighbours say they initially assumed the gunshots were New Year's fireworks, and did not realise what had happened until police investigators arrived.

Joe Rios, another friend, told the New York Post the rifle belonged to the boy's father, who he said was a US veteran.

Brittany had just completed her first semester of university, said Stockton University in a statement.

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