DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Dix Hills man has been arrested after his father told police he returned home to find his wife unconscious with severe head injuries and his teenage son dead.
Charles Okonkwo Jr., 18, is charged with second-degree assault in connection with the alleged attack on his mother, Chinwe Okonkwo, 52. Police, meanwhile, are investigating the death of Charles’ 15-year-old brother, Bradley.
As CBS 2’s Don Champion reported, Bradley Okonkwo posted pictures on Instagram from his family vacation as recently as less than a week ago. Friends of the teenage boy were trying to make sense of it all on Sunday afternoon.
“I didn’t think, like, it could happen to him,” said friend Matthew Touhamy.
The boys’ father, Charles Okonkwo Sr., 62, said he had just returned Saturday to his home at 3 Norman Ct. following a hospital stay, when he discovered his son was dead and his wife had suffered severe injuries, police said. The younger Charles Okonkwo had fled the scene in a green 2002 BMW X5, but police later located him a short distance from the home.
Bradley Okonkwo was pronounced dead at the scene by the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office. His cause of death could not be determined there, police said. An autopsy will be conducted.
Chinwe Okonkwo was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, where she is listed in serious condition, police said.
As CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, Charles Okonkwo Sr. broke down and sobbed as he walked down the driveway of his home Sunday. Waiting to greet him were grieving friends of son Bradley.
“Your friend is dead,” Okonkwo Sr. told Bradley’s friends. “Your friend is dead.”
“What the family needs right now is prayers. We ask people to pray for us,” said the family’s pastor, the Rev. Gideon Uzomechina. “This is a very big time of trial.”
Frank Torres and his son, who was friends with the brothers, came to the family’s house Sunday afternoon to lay flowers.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” Torres said. “It’s unfortunate — things that happen today — and it just, it, broke my heart because he was a really good kid; he was a gentle giant.”
Calvin Cruz said Bradley Okonkwo’s best friend, and was also at the house on Sunday.
“I knew Charles (Jr.) had his problems and stuff,” he said. “I never knew he’d do something like this.”
WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported authorities said Charles Okonkwo Jr. has a history of psychiatric issues and has admitted to hurting his brother.
Cruz and many classmates from Half Hollow Hills East High School left flowers and balloons outside the family’s front door.
“I think everybody is just going to remember him by how funny he was, how lovable he was, how sweet of a guy he was,” Cruz said. “He didn’t deserve any of this. He was never mean to anyone. It’s just shocking.”
Charles Okonkwo Jr. had little to say about what happened as he was led out of Suffolk County Police Headquarters in handcuffs Sunday.
Neighbors said the family – originally from Nigeria – often kept to themselves.
Chinwe Okonkwo is a doctor who heads an international health non-profit. Friends of her sons said the brothers were close, and that Charles Okonkwo Jr. recently returned home from college.
When he did, friends say he had changed.
“Just acting differently; I’m not really sure 100 percent why or how,” Touhamy said.
At his arraignment in Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip Sunday, Charles Okonkwo Jr. was ordered held on $250,000 cash bail or $1 million bond. He did not enter a plea, 1010 WINS reported.
Charles Okonkwo Sr. was home Sunday night, surrounded by friends from his church.
As of late Sunday afternoon, Chinwe Okonkwo was listed in serious condition. Charles Okonkwo Jr., meantime, could face more charges.
Police are asking anyone with information about the case to call 631-852-6392.
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