Still no motive in Long Branch murders of parents, sister and family friend

LONG BRANCH, New Jersey (WABC) -- The New Jersey teenager accused of fatally shooting his parents, sister and a family friend inside a home on New Year's Eve is set to make his first court appearance, but it has been postponed until Wednesday morning.

The 16-year-old suspect was taken into custody without incident following the shooting inside the home on Wall Street in Long Branch just before 11:45 p.m.

Authorities said they still don't know why the alleged incident happened, even as it emerged the family was facing financial hardship.

"At this point, we don't have a motive," Monmouth County prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni said.

A motion for access to the proceeding by the Asbury Park Press delayed the appearance, which had been scheduled for Tuesday. Monmouth County prosecutors say the teen will not be in the courtroom for the Family Court hearing. He is due to appear via video conference.

The 16-year-old faces four counts of murder for the shooting deaths of 42-year-old Steve Kologi, his 44-year-old wife Linda, 18-year-old daughter Brittany and 70-year-old family friend Mary Schulz. Gramiccioni said there were three people who escaped the home, including the suspect's grandfather, brother and an acquaintance of Schulz.

Authorities say someone in the home had lawfully acquired the Century Arms semi-automatic rifle used in the murders, but Gramiccioni declined to say which member owned the weapon.

"This is a heartbreaking family tragedy," Gramiccioni said. "This is a situation we often don't find ourselves in."

Five months before they were allegedly shot by their son, Steve and Linda Kologi were notified they were facing foreclosure on their home, court records showed. Then, in December, their lender asked a judge to declare the couple in default on a 2006 mortgage.

The couple filed for bankruptcy in 2009, bankruptcy court documents showed. The Kologis listed income from his job as a mailman and $72,000 in credit card debt and a $15,000 car lease.

Friends say the Kologis never talked about having a weapon in their house.

"Never even spoke of owning a gun," friend Ronnie Pacheco said. "I'm assuming he didn't speak of it because he probably had it for protection. He wasn't that type. I never knew him for hunting or anything like that."

The suspect's name has not been released because of his age, but authorities may seek to move the case to adult court.

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