The disturbing case of Andrew Messina
By Curt Williams
Recently, with the help of two wonderful ladies, I covered an absolutely horrible story. Imagine for a moment that your 16-year-old son was unnecessarily shot in your own home by a sniper working with the local sheriffs.
You may be saying to yourself, there had to be a good reason that this child was killed. Well read on and you can judge for yourself.
Editor’s note: For similar cases of calls for help going horribly wrong I highly suggest you read about the disturbing case of 62-year-old Nick Christie and the case of an Army reservist who allegedly had his home vandalized after he called a suicide hotline, after which he filed a lawsuit against the District of Columbia.
Andrew Messina was 16 years old and was nothing shy of what you might call a typical teenager. He loved his music, his friends and helping people.
Well, the helping people part may not be all that common of a trait among the younger generation, but it was a trait that Andrew had. He was described by friends to be a modern day hippy of sorts, meaning that the ideas of peace and love towards others resonated deeply in him. Peace and harmony was his mindset.
I was told by the mother of one of his friends that when eating dinner at her house he took it upon himself to clear the table and help with cleaning up after being told he did not have to.
He was a very smart young man for his age. Being from a wealthy area, he was still not what some might call a spoiled brat. He worked for his money and expected no handouts.
He did this even though, as I have been told, he didn’t have to work because his parents would have bought him what he needed.
This was another one of Andrew’s traits that is not so typical of your average teen. He worked for what he wanted. He knew the value of hard work and actually working for what you want instead of having it handed to you. He understood finances. He mowed lawns and did whatever he could to be independent financially.
As we all know being a teen is a rough time, regardless of whether you are from the wealthy side of town or not. At that age, you don’t know if your coming or going. Not really a child, but not quite an adult.
Depression became an issue for Andrew as it does with many teens. Andrew was also diagnosed with ADHD.
It was mentioned in an article about this case that Andrew was a little upset about his grades and the bullying he was experiencing. He was prescribed Zoloft. Uh Oh! This was not a good contributing factor to the mix of things.
On May 1st things came to a head with Andrew’s depression. He had what some may call a “breakdown.”
Distraught, he went for his Fathers unloaded .357 pistol and as one could imagine this scared his Mother.
This prompted her to call for help. What happened next was not in any way the “help” Andrew’s mother sought for her son.
The SWAT arrived and set up shop. Armed with an unloaded .357 Andrew barricaded himself in his family’s house.
It was falsely reported that Andrew was holding his own mother hostage. This was not the case. When asked if she felt that she was in any danger, his mother was quoted as saying, “Absolutely not.”
Andrew’s father stated, “I told my wife to get out of the house and call the police.”
“The phone call to the police was made from outside the house. At no time did my son have her hostage,” he added.
We can already see a number of problems here. One, there was no hostage situation whatsoever. Two, Andrew was on Zoloft. Three, the overreaction and erroneous belief that there was a hostage situation brought about unnecessary force from the Cherokee County Sheriff department.
What was overlooked was the fact that this young man was very upset and needed some professional help in getting over his depressive state of mind.
This was the help that Andrew’s mother was looking for and obviously not the help the sheriffs provided.
Andrew’s mother wanted to get her son the help he so desperately needed. This was a case of a bout with depression due to problems that teens often go through. His father stated that his son was neither bi-polar nor manic depressive.
At that point in time Andrew’s intentions were not to harm anyone else as his father recalls from what Andrew was saying over the phone, “I’m just such a disappointment and such a problem to you and the rest of the world.” I have uttered these very same words as teen.
It was said that Andrew was drinking. From what I have gathered this was exaggerated as well. A drink may have been taken, but he was not drunk like I’m sure was relayed to the SWAT.
At one point Andrew let his 10 pound Shih Tzu outside. This was seen as a threat to the officers. Yes, a 10 pound Shih Tzu was a threat to these supposedly well trained officers!
I was told that this was done by Andrew to keep the family pet out of harm’s way and from the people that I have spoke with that knew Andrew, this was just the way he was. He loved and respected life.
Yes, he was flirting with the idea of harming himself, but he was a troubled teen. This provides no excuse for what happened next.
After Andrew decided that he would not speak with negotiators, I can only imagine that the SWAT was ready to put an end to this.
Now, keep in mind that this entire ordeal happened in the span of an hour. My opinion is that SWAT came there with zero intention of getting Andrew out of the house alive.
Quick note: the officers did know that the gun was not loaded.
His father asked if he could see his son, to talk to him. He was told no. Why? Why not go a route that could have saved Andrew from what was about to occur?
Andrew positioned himself by the front door of his home and upon waving the gun around hit the glass in the front door breaking part of it.
Again in the name of “safety” of the officers, this act was seen as a threat due to officers being near the door.
When the glass broke, the sniper saw his opportunity.
One shot was fired, killing Andrew instantly. It was a kill shot to the chest that went straight through Andrew, ricocheting around the room.
The sheriff claims that this action was SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) and that they had to protect the neighbors.
What about Andrew? Was there anyone concerned with this young man’s well being? I think not.
How many times have we heard of standoffs that last hours only to be resolved with no one dead? I know personally I have heard of quite a few.
The suspect is usually apprehended and dealt with from there. Why was this not the case here? Why were non-lethal means of putting an end to this situation not explored? This could not have been the officers’ only recourse.
Just some ideas that pop to mind are: rubber bullets, beanbag rounds, tear gas, flash/stun/concussion grenades, or better yet, just let his own father speak to him.
What a concept! It’s obvious that when the officers got there, there was no need for parental intervention. Insane!
So to recap: mother calls for help because her son is distraught and she fears for his safety and his wellbeing. The son has an unloaded .357 and is sniped through the front door. Where was the help?
I can really relate to what Andrew must have been feeling because at one time I was that teen. I have been suicidal and my mother has had to call for help.
I may have not had a gun, but I was out of my mind and, well, I could have been Andrew. Andrew is all of us. Andrew is your teen and mine.
My heart truly aches for Andrew’s parents because I am a father with teenagers.
Parents, this is a call to action. I will never call the “peace officers” for help even if my child is threatening suicide. I will never call them for anything period! So many factors come into play here.
I will leave this to you, the reader, to determine if this was the way it should have ended. I believe that you will come to the same conclusion I have. Please show your support for Andrew’s parents by visiting the Justice for Andrew Messina Facebook page and sharing it with others who care.
Edited by Madison Ruppert
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Room 101 Radio airs live Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. EST on the Oracle Broadcasting Network (past shows are archived here). In Room 101 your host Curt Williams discusses some of the most pressing social issues, namely, police terrorism, public education and Big Pharma. These are just a few topics of the many topics covered as there are so many issues facing us and our children right in our own backyard. While people wait for those in DC to make everything alright, our communities are crumbling. Social fragmentation has ripped us apart. We are afraid of our neighbors, afraid of the police, hell, we’re even afraid of our own shadows. We lock ourselves away afraid of the world. So join Curt as he tackles these issues and much more. Be sure to check out his website devoted to Room 101. He can be contacted via email here.