If Kalee was spunk, then her friend and “big brother” T.J. was sunshine.
Kalee Scolatti, 34, and T.J. (Anthony) Dupras, 46, died Wednesday night when Scolatti’s estranged husband entered her home and gunned them down before turning the gun on himself.
Kalee and T.J. were killed instantly.
Nicholas Scolatti, 36, died Friday morning at St. Patrick Hospital.
“Our lives are going to be very empty without those two people in them, I can tell you that right now,” T.J.’s friend and ex-wife Amy Dupras told the Missoulian on Friday.
She said she’s known both Kalee and her family since Kalee was 14. T.J. considered Kalee’s family, the Jacobsons, his Montana family. He had known Kalee since she was 11 years old, she said.
When T.J. came to Kalee’s home at 314 Brooks St. on Wednesday night, it was to help her, Amy said.
“He was there for her when she needed him,” Amy said. “I don’t know if she had told him to be there, or if he had come over to hang out. He was there for her, as he always was.”
“They were together as friends, as family when it happened. That’s the only bit of comfort in all of this,” she added.
Details surrounding Wednesday night’s triple shooting remain murky. Missoula police contend they cannot release further information in the midst of the investigation, but friends and family are speaking out about their lost loved ones.
Kalee had recently been promoted to news director at ABC Fox Montana and would have celebrated a decade with the company Friday.
T.J. was the office manager at Missoula's ALPS, an invaluable employee who went above and beyond his job title, CEO David Bell said.
Bell remembered his employee referring to Kalee as his sister, so much so that several other colleagues believed they were biologically related.
The Illinois native who came to Montana to earn a degree in zoology, was a man of many talents, including graphic design, music and basketball.
Bell said he had never been around someone so funny and positive. He had an amazing, generous spirit and would bend over backwards to help others.
“I got you covered” was a common refrain that Dupras uttered several times a day, Bell said.
“He would insert himself to help,” Bell said. “He would seek you out and understand how he could be helpful to you and do that.”
He said walking into the office Thursday was like walking into a sea of tears.
“What has hit this office like a meteor is not that we lost someone who worked hard, but we lost the guy that was such a funny, infectiously funny person," Bell said. "He was always a positive person. There wasn’t a time that he wasn’t smiling and using that smile.”
“I don’t know if I know anyone else just like him,” he added.
Bell said the company is in the process of setting up a trust fund for T.J.’s two sons, Rowley and Max, at First Interstate Bank and are planning a memorial celebration honoring T.J.’s life next week.
That will be fitting, said T.J.’s sister, Kimberly Benne.
“With T.J., everything was a celebration,” she said. “He was never angry, he was never upset.”
A GoFundMe campaign has also been started to help the family. To donate, visit gofundme.com/RememberTJ.
A separate campaign has been started to help Kalee's three daughters, Izabele, Marly and Sophie. Visit gofundme.com/scolattigirls.