NEW FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Tyler Giuliano had no trouble with the law. The teenager loved flying small planes as a Civil Air Patrol cadet and seemed happy as he played an online game with friends Wednesday night. But hours later, authorities say, Tyler was outside wearing a black ski mask and wielding a knife when he was shot by his father, who thought he was a prowler.

No immediate charges were brought against Jeffrey Giuliano, a popular fifth-grade teacher, in the slaying of 15-year-old Tyler, who was gunned down in his aunt's driveway next door to his own home in New Fairfield around 1 a.m. Thursday.

"It's something out of a Hollywood script," said John Hodge, the first selectman, or top elected official, in the town of nearly 14,000 people about 50 miles from New York City. He said he couldn't recall another killing in his eight years on the job.

State police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said the boy had never been in trouble with the law, and some of those who knew him described him as a good kid with an easygoing personality. Investigators and acquaintances said they were at a loss to explain what he was doing outside dressed all in black and carrying a weapon.

"Certainly, that is the major question we are trying to answer at this point," Vance said.

State police said the shooting happened after Jeffrey Giuliano got a call from his sister next door saying that someone might be trying to break into her home in their neighborhood of attractive colonial-style houses. Giuliano grabbed a handgun and went outside to investigate, troopers said.

He confronted someone in a ski mask and opened fire when the person came at him with something shiny in his hand, police said.

When police officers arrived, Tyler was lying dead in the driveway with a knife in his hand, and his father, in a T-shirt and shorts, was sitting on the grass. Detectives informed the elder Giuliano several hours later that he had shot his son, Vance said.

"All in all, it's a tragedy," Vance said.

Police were investigating whether the father's gun was registered.

No one answered the door at Giuliano's home or his sister's.

Tyler was a student at New Fairfield High School and a Civil Air Patrol cadet. Some of those who knew him said he enjoyed spending time with family and flying gliders and small planes. He was adopted by Giuliano and his wife a few years ago, friends said.

One classmate said many students were baffled by what happened.

"I just thought it was so weird when I heard because I knew Tyler, not very well, but he was just a sweet person and he always made everyone laugh. I met him in the chorus room, actually, and he just wasn't the type to do what happened," said Erin Pallas, 16. "So it didn't make sense to us. It doesn't make sense to the student body."

Brett Rasile, a 14-year-old friend, said he and Tyler were playing an online game called Minecraft while talking and laughing together via Skype until about 10 p.m. Wednesday, when Tyler said he had to go to bed. Brett said Tyler wasn't in any trouble that he knew of, and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

"Same old Tyler. He was perfectly fine," Brett said. "He didn't really leave any evidence, any hints towards what he would do."

Alicia Roy, New Fairfield superintendent of schools, said the elder Giuliano grew up in the town, holds summer music and zoology camps for his students and plays guitar in a local rock band that raises money for charity. He is affectionately known as "Mr. G" around Meeting House Hill School.

"He was the teacher you requested in the fifth grade. He was a great teacher. All the kids loved him," said Rosemary Rasile, Brett's mother.

Brian Wyckoff, 17, said Mr. G "was always walking around with a smile on his face. He always says hi to everyone."

The high school stayed open late to provide grief counseling for students and parents.

"The community is deeply saddened, and our hearts go out to all the family members," Roy said.

___

Associated Press reporter Dan Sewell reported from Cincinnati. Pat Eaton-Robb and Stephen Singer reported from Hartford, Conn. AP video journalist Ted Shaffrey also contributed to this story.



Loading Slideshow...
  • Swat team members secure the scene near Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., after a shooting there on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

  • Sandy Hook Elementary

    Molly Delaney, left, holds her 11-year-old daughter, Milly Delaney, during a service in honor of the victims who died a day earlier when a gunman opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as people gathered at St. John's Episcopal Church , Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Conn. The massacre of 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school elicited horror and soul-searching around the world even as it raised more basic questions about why the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, would have been driven to such a crime and how he chose his victims.

  • Police secure the scene near Sparks Middle School after a shooting in Sparks, Nev., on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Authorities are reporting that two people were killed and two wounded at the Nevada middle school. (AP Photo/Kevin Clifford)

  • Clackamas Town Center

    A security guard looks over the food court at the Clackamas Town Center mall as it opens, on Friday, Dec 14, 2012 in Portland, Ore. The mall is reopening, three days after a gunman killed two people and wounded a third amid a holiday shopping crowd estimated at 10,000. The shooter, Jacob Tyler Roberts, killed himself after the attack Tuesday afternoon.

  • St. Vincent's Hospital Shooting

    Birmingham police arrive at the scene of a shooting at St. Vincent's Hospital on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012 in Birmingham, Ala. Authorities in Alabama say a man opened fire the hospital, wounding an officer and two employees before he was fatally shot by police. Birmingham Police Sgt. Johnny Williams says the officer and employees suffered injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

  • Sikh Temple Shooting

    Mourners attend the funeral and memorial service for the six victims of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., Friday, Aug 10, 2012. The public service was held in the Oak Creek High School. Three other people were wounded in the shooting last Sunday at the temple. Wade Michael Page, 40, killed five men and one woman, and injured two other men. Authorities say Page then ambushed the first police officer who responded, shooting him nine times and leaving him in critical condition. A second officer then shot Page in the stomach, and Page took his own life with a shot to the head. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

  • July 2012: Aurora, Colorado

    A policeman stands outside a Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where a heavily armed man opened fire, killing at least 12 people and injuring 50 others.

  • May 2012: Seattle, Wash.

    Friends, family and employees react after a shooting at Cafe Racer in Seattle on May 30, 2012. A lone gunman killed four people Wednesday -- three were shot to death at a cafe, and a fourth in a carjacking. The gunman later killed himself.

  • April 2012: Oakland, California

    Alameda County Community Food Bank workers move a memorial from a parking spot next to Oikos University in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 23, 2012. Some students and staff members have arrived to resume class at Oikus University, the small California Christian college where seven people were shot to death earlier in April.

  • November 2009: Fort Hood, Texas

    Panou Xiong, center, is comforted by family and friends following a Remembrance Ceremony commemorating the one-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military base, where 13 people were killed and dozens wounded,, Nov. 5, 2010 in Fort Hood, Texas. Xiong's son, Pfc. Kham Xiong, was killed in the shooting. <em><strong>CORRECTION:</strong> This slide originally said that the Fort Hood shooting took place in November 2010. The shooting took place in November 2009.</em>

  • March 2009: Kinston, Alabama

    The charred Kinston, Ala. living room where suspected gunman Michael McLendon allegedly killed his mother Lisa McLendon, is photographed Wednesday, March 11, 2009. Authorities were working Wednesday to learn why a gunman set off on a rampage, killing 10 people across two rural Alabama counties.

  • August 2007: Blacksburg, Va.

    An unidentified family member of slain Virginia Tech student Daniel Alejandro Prez Cueva, pauses at his memorial stone after the dedication of the memorial for the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting in Blacksburg, Va., Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007. More than 10,000 people gathered on the main campus lawn as Virginia Tech dedicated 32 memorial stones for those killed by a student in a mass shooting on campus last April.

  • April 1999: Littleton, Colo.

    This aerial shows the news media compound near Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., April 21, 1999. Media from around the world poured into the area after 15 people were killed during a shooting spree inside the school.