Prosecutors believe the four people who were murdered in New Jersey on New Year’s Eve likely had little — if any — time to try to disarm their killer or talk him out of pulling the trigger, telling reporters during a press briefing the quadruple homicide “happened fairly sudden and quick.”
On Tuesday, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni spoke to the media, providing additional details about the shocking slayings of a husband, his wife, their 18-year-old daughter, and an elderly family friend, minutes before the start of 2018.
Investigators contend the killings were allegedly carried out by a 16-year-old boy, who, armed with an automatic rifle, apparently opened fire inside his family’s Long Branch, New Jersey, home, killing his parents, Steven and Linda Kologi, and his older sister, Brittany.
According to Gramiccioni, the rifle used in the killings had been legally obtained — ironically, by one of the three people who managed to escape the home Sunday evening after hearing the first bursts of gunfire. The weapon was a Century Arms semi-automatic rifle, holding a magazine with 15 rounds.
Investigators originally believed only the teen suspect’s older brother and grandfather fled the house, but said Tuesday a third person — described as a 20-year-old friend of the family — also got away unscathed.
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One of the three survivors called 911, Gramiccioni explained, and police arrived at the home within a minute to find the bodies of the three Kologis as well as the remains of 70-year-old Mary Schultz, a longtime family friend who also lived in the home.
Gramiccioni said Tuesday that all four victims died from multiple gunshot wounds, fired off at close range.
The prosecutor stated he intends to file a motion, seeking the transfer of the case from juvenile to adult court. He has 60 days to file that request.
PEOPLE is not naming the alleged suspect because he is a minor.
The teen is due in court on Wednesday morning for an initial hearing, which has been closed to the media.
A dog and several cats were also recovered from the home and were unharmed.
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“We’re still working toward identifying a motive,” Gramiccioni said Tuesday, adding that the four victims were not all in the same room at the time of the shootings.
The teen is facing four counts of murder and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
The boy, who neighbors tell local media has special needs, is represented by the Monmouth County public defender’s office, which didn’t return messages seeking comment.