It started with a mysterious call from an restricted phone number a little before 8 p.m., said William Karecki's younger sister, Rebecca.

William Karecki, 22, left his family's house on Ocean Boulevard in the Cliffwood Beach section of Aberdeen Sunday night. A few hours later, police cars were flying down the road, Rebecca Karecki said.

There, in a parking lot, they found William Karecki shot 9 times in the back, she said.

"They just set him up," she said of her brother, one of six siblings and a 2011 graduate of Old Bridge High School. "They told him to go down there, and he was killed."

Rebecca Karecki doesn't know that for sure — or exactly who "they" are. But she said the family has its suspicions. They think the shooting is somehow connected to an incident this summer.

Her brother was one of three people arrested in July after he allegedly beat and robbed a man in a Toms River Howard Johnson hotel room, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office has said. Rebecca Karecki said that was an aberration — a dark moment in her brother's "goody-two-shoes" life. She blames his brother's ex-girlfriend, also allegedly involved in the July incident, for being a bad influence.

William Karecki sat in jail for two months before his family bailed him out, his sister said. Since then, he'd cleaned up his act, she said. He was reading the Bible and praying daily. He'd distanced himself from his ex and had no toruble since, Rebecca Karecki said.

"She had ruined him as a person for a while," Rebecca Karecki said. "He just started hanging out with his old friends instead. They knew how crazy she was."

Rebecca Karecki described her brother as "a very good kid" — generous and kind, quick to help others. He'd had no prior arrests, no history with drugs, she said.

"He was an amazing, amazing young man," she said. "He was always the first one to lend his heart out. He was the first one to act as their therapist. He loved with all of his heart. No matter who you were, he just loved you and wanted to be loved."

Rebecca Karecki said her brother didn't have any particular history of getting strange phone calls.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, releasing initial information about the incident Monday morning, didn't mention William Karecki's prior arrest or discuss any suspects. Spokesman Charles Webster declined to comment on either.

Aberdeen Township Police responded to a 911 call at 9:44 p.m. reporting a deceased young male in a parking lot near 2 Ocean Boulevard, the prosecutor's office said. They found William Karecki "had sustained gunshot wounds and was obviously deceased," the prosecutor's office said.

No arrests have been made so far.

Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Patrick Petruzziello of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Anthony Valentino of the Aberdeen Township Police Department at 732-583-4200, ext 205.

Anonymous tips can also be made through the Monmouth County Crime Stoppers confidential telephone tip-line by calling 800-671-4400; by texting "MONMOUTH” plus the tip to 274637; or by using this submission form. Monmouth County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of criminals and fugitives.

"We just want justice," Rebecca Karecki said. "We ask for peace."

Louis C. Hochman is digital managing editor for NJ1015.com. Reach him at louis.hochman@townsquaremedia.com or on Twitter @LouisCHochman.