Tragedy shocks Linden as Nieroda family is slain by father with gun

Justyna Nieroda, Natalie Nieroda, Sebastian Nieroda and Krzysztof Nieroda

Linden residents are stunned by the horrific discovery of a murder-suicide in the Union County community.

Linden Police said a shooting incident that took place in a home located on Chatham Place at approximately 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning left two adults and two juveniles dead.

According to authorities, officers who responded reports of a shooting found two dead adults and two juvenile victims, one who was pronounced dead at the scene and another who died in University Hospital.

Police sources said the father fatally shot his wife and two children before taking his own life.

Chief David Chief Hart identified the three victims as Justyna Nieroda, 41, Sebastian Nieroda, 14, and Natalie Nieroda, 13.

A joint investigation by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Task Force and the Linden Police Department revealed that during the morning hours, Krzysztof Nieroda, 41, shot his wife, his son, and his daughter. 

Hart said the killer called a family member by phone and confessed that he had shot and killed his wife and children. Soon after that, Krzysztof Nieroda killed himself with a single gunshot to the head.

The murder weapon was located in his hand when authorities arrived.

“The child in the hospital has died,” said Mayor Derek Armstead. “This morning Linden suffered another tragedy… There simply are no words to describe the trauma, heartbreak and sorrow that we are all experiencing.”

Krzysztof and Justyna Nieroda

The assailant is believed to be among the dead, and police say there is no further threat to the public.

Valentine’s Day balloons in the doorway. A Ford pickup truck in the driveway.

As the medical examiner drove off, those were the reminders of the family of four that lived at 18 Chatham Place in Linden.

Police say the husband shot his wife and their two children — a boy and a girl — who classmates say are 13 and 12 years old, before killing himself on Sunday morning.

Neighbors said the husband was an electrician and the wife was a hair stylist who worked out of the home.

They describe the family as friendly and quiet.

A neighbor, Digna Alvarez was home with her sister-in-law when she heard a child screaming.

“She heard somebody was screaming, but she was thinking someone was playing with the dog, and then no more,” Alvarez said.

Another neighbor, Roman Zygadro, broke down at the scene, telling officers that the teenage girl was her student.

“They were a very nice family, good neighbors — he was an electrician, she was a beautician,” said Zygadro.

“I said hello to him a couple times. He doesn’t really say much,” neighbor Omar Catalbas said.

“She was always so nice, nice smile on her face every time never. Would think something was wrong,” Catalbas said. “When her daughter was younger her daughter would walk a fake dog, a little doggy, imitating her mom and stuff. Really cute.”

“I feel terrible today because I saw that kids since they born,” neighbor Digna Alvarez said. “I never saw any fight in this house. It was very nice people. Family, very together family. They went in snow all the time together, playing in the snow, riding bicycles together.”

“It is difficult to find the words to describe the impact a tragedy like this has on our community, particularly for the families, our children and first responders,” said Hart. “We are not alone in our grief; each of us has a shared responsibility to be there for our loved ones as we mourn the loss of our friends and neighbors. If you or someone you know may be suffering, please don’t hesitate to ask for help before a crisis occurs.”

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