Tragedy struck a New Jersey family on New Year’s Eve when an autistic teenager allegedly shot and killed his parents and sister.
Just one day later, the teen’s older brother, who was able to escape unharmed along with his grandfather, honored his deceased family members with a tribute posted to Instagram.
In the post, Steven Kologi Jr. praised his mother and father, who he called “the greatest parents I could ask for.”
“Never once was I without a hot meal or a roof over my head,” he wrote, according to the New York Post.
“They made sure Christmas came every year although they struggled financially. I cannot even describe the type of people they were so just believe me when I say how great they were,” he added.
His brother, 16-year-old Scott Kologi, is accused of killing both of his parents — Steven, 44, and Linda, 42 — as well as his 18-year-old sister Brittany, and a family friend, 70-year-old Mary Schultz.
“My New Year’s resolution is to be as great of a parent as my parents were to me,” the grieving older son said of his parents.
Steven Jr. also had kind words for his sister, recalling that “she was so beautiful and smart.”
“I just wish I could tell all of them how much they meant to me and how much I truly loved each and every one of them because I didn’t do that enough,” he wrote.
He reportedly concluded his post by wishing his followers “good luck” in 2018, according to the Post.
“And please please please remember to give the ones you love an extra kiss or I love you,” he said.
The killings took place not long before midnight on Sunday. As a result, some neighbors thought the gunshots were fireworks.
“On any other day we would have thought, ‘What the heck was that?’ But because it was New Year’s Eve, we didn’t pay any attention. It’s so sad,” said Yvonne Moss, who lives several blocks from the Kologis.
Police did respond to a 911 call and discovered the four victims — who were declared dead at the scene — in addition to the alleged perpetrator.
Scott Kologi was arrested without any more violence taking place.
“Thankfully it was uneventful,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said at a news conference Monday, according to the New York Daily News. “It didn’t require any force.”
Scott Kologi has been charged as a juvenile with four counts of first-degree murder, as well as a weapons offense.
Gramiccioni said the gun used in the killings, a Century Arms semiautomatic rifle, was legally owned by the family.
Authorities are still trying to determine what prompted the violence.
Friends of the family told the Asbury Park Press that Scott Kologi was homeschooled, reportedly by his mother.
According to one friend, Ronald Pacheco, Kologi was “secluded.”
“He had some type of autism. I didn’t know what type. He was very secluded,” Pacheco said.
But Joe Rios, who played softball with Scott’s father, said the 16-year-old seemed like ““the nicest kid in the world.”
“He came to watch the softball games with Linda and he was always smiling. This is totally out of the blue,” Rios said. “This is not something I ever thought this young boy would do. I don’t know what happened. He was not a violent kid. He was always smiling.”
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