Police in America have charged an autistic schoolboy with murdering his father, mother, sister and his grandfather’s partner dead just minutes before New Year.
The 16-year-old used a semi-automatic rifle to kill his parents, Steven and Linda Kologi, his 18-year-old sister, Brittany, and 70-year-old Mary Schultz, prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.
The teenager has been identified locally as Scott Kologi.
They all lived in their Long Branch home, New Jersey.
Kologi’s brother and grandfather Adrian were at the house at the time of the attack but escaped unharmed.
Police received a 911 call about the shooting at 11.43pm on Sunday from inside the house, where the four victims were later found dead.
Neighbour Sergio Diaz, 41, told how he heard the gunfire.
“I went out to get a few beers off the porch and I heard pop, pop, pop, pop, pop,” he said.
“I heard like 10 shots.”
Tonight, Kologi was charged with four counts of murder and a weapons offence.
Mr Gramiccioni said: “It’s a terribly tragic incident.”
The shooter’s grandmother, Carole Kologi-Zawacki, broke down in tears when she heard of the killings.
“Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God,” Kologi-Zawacki, 66, said from her Florida home.
Her husband, Gregory Zawacki, 63, said the suspect is autistic.
“We didn’t know they had a gun in the house,” he added.
“The Kologis were very caring, loving people and always looking to do fun things with their kids,” Walter Montelione, Linda Kologi’s cousin, told WCBS-TV.
“He was a good kid. He was a little, you know, slow with learning disabilities, but he knows right from wrong.”
Brittany Kologi was a freshman at Stockton University in Galloway Township, Atlantic County, New Jersey, where she studied health sciences, a university spokeswoman confirmed.
Gramiccioni said: “We are confident that this is a domestic incident that is completely isolated. It’s a terribly tragic incident.”
Scott Kologi was arrested without issue, according to law enforcement officials.
Neighbours and friends told the NJ the teen had special needs, did not attend regular public schools and was cared for by his mum.
He did not attend Long Branch High School, where his older brother and sister graduated.
Just minutes after wishing their followers a Happy New Year, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, announced a homicide investigation into the incident was now ongoing.
The tweet now appears to have been deleted.
Emergency services were outside the residential address on Wall Street in the early hours of the morning.
Tributes to the family were posted on social media.
“I love you, Linda and Brittany with my entire heart. You all made up the best years of my life, I’m so blessed to have had the time I did with your family,” read one Facebook message.
Several vehicles were at the scene, which appeared to be blocked off from the public.
Long Branch is a beach-side city in Monmouth County.
It has around 30,700 inhabitants according to the 2010 Unites States Census.