Man gunned down in Cliffwood was called away from home, Father says

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A young man recently released from jail on charges of a pre-meditated attack was just begining to turn his life around when he was called away from his Old Bridge home in the Cliffwood Beach neighborhood and gunned down in a beachfront lot a short drive away.

For Ed Karecki, Sunday seemed normal. He was on his computer. William H. Karecki, who Ed called Billy, was talking about football. Then,  Billy got a call. Karecki remembers his son answered the phone and then, without saying where he was going, drove off.

“He just left and never came back,” Karecki said Monday night. “Next time I saw him he was lying in the street next to his truck.”

At 9:44 p.m. Sunday, Aberdeen Township police responded to a 911 call of a young deceased male in the area of a parking lot in the Aberdeen Township’s Cliffwood neighborhood.

Upon their arrival, police found an a young man who was shot several times and was “obviously deceased,” Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Charlie Webster said in a prepared statement.

The victim was identified as 22-year-old Billy Karecki, a 2011 graduate of Old Bridge High School and Ed’s youngest son.

Billy was trying to get his life back together after falling in with the wrong crowd, his father said.

In July, Billy Karecki was arrested on charges that he and another man, Kevin Gusualdo, 24, of the Port Monmouth neighborhood of Middletown, beat up and and stole $200 from the former boyfriend of Nicole Cantatore, 18, also from Port Monmouth. Cantatore was Billy Karecki’s girlfriend at the time of the attack, his father said. The three were charged by Toms River police and locked-up in Ocean County Jail, according to an NJ.com report.

But Karecki said his son had started reading the Bible, and he hoped to become a mechanic.

“He was a good kid,” said Karecki. “Always helping neighbors with their cars.”

After Billy left the family’s Ocean Boulevard home Sunday night, Ed Karecki said it “didn’t seem very long” before he saw police cars speed past. Then, he heard from a neighbor who said he had seen Billy’s car surrounded by police vehicles.

Karecki and Billy’s older brother Eddie jumped in his truck and drove off. After they crossed the bridge over Whale Creek, Karecki said he could see his son lying beside his truck.

“I’m just at a loss for words,” Karecki said during an emotional interview Monday.

But on Sunday night, Karecki took to social media. He posted fervent messages to his own Facebook page and in various forums pleading for anyone with information to come forward.

“Whoever it was, they gotta find him and lock him away forever,” said Karecki.

As of Monday night, no arrests had been made.

Anyone with information should contact Det. Patrick Petruzziello of the Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800-533-7443, or Det. Anthony Valentino of the Aberdeen Township Police Department at 732-583-4200, ext. 205.

Anonymous tips can also be submitted to the Monmouth County Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-671-4400, texting “MONMOUTH” and the tip to 274637, or via email through the website www.monmouthcountycrimestoppers.com. The Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.