About 20 minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve, a teenager armed with a semiautomatic rifle slaughtered his family in their New Jersey home, and prosecutors are reportedly weighing whether to try his case in adult court.
The 16-year-old is expected to appear in court Tuesday and will likely face
murder charges for the deaths of his father, Steven Kologi, 44, his mother, Linda Kologi, 42, his sister, Brittany Kologi, 18, and family friend Mary Schultz, 70. He reportedly spared his brother and grandfather.
Local media identified the teen as Scott Kologi. Neighbors and friends in the family’s seaside town of Long Branch told the local Asbury Park Press that he was autistic, and has been homeschooled, unlike his siblings.
Scott used a Center Arms semi-automatic rifle to kill his family, according to a statement from the Monmouth County prosecutor. The weapon was reportedly licensed to a member of his family. New Jersey is one of 27 states that punish the related adults if a juvenile is able to get ahold of a firearm. Recent efforts to ramp up those penalties in New Jersey stalled in the state Legislature after encountering pushback from the gun lobby.
Officials assured the public through statements released Monday that the tragedy was an “isolated domestic incident” that posed no threat to the public.
The massacre was a tragic end to what had already been a bloody year in America. 2017 was the deadliest year for mass killings in the U.S. in more than a decade. That’s according to the Gun Violence Archives, which relies on FBI data, and classifies a “mass shooting” as an incident that claims four or more victims.
In 2017 there were 345 mass shootings in total.
The FBI’s data shows that around 70 percent of mass shootings take place in a domestic residence. One report found that about half of all mass shootings from January 2009 to June 2015 involved a shooter who killed a family member, or a current or former intimate partner.
The quadruple homicide at the Kologi residence has shaken the Long Branch community, home to about 30,000 people. Neighbors and friends described the family as caring, good people.
“Wouldn’t expect anything like this from him. This is out of the blue,” Joe Rios, a longtime family friend, told the Asbury Park Press. “Something must have happened, because I never, ever thought something like this would happen with their family. Ever.”
RELATED: Survivors tell us what should be done about mass shootings