• Parents grieve loss of teen killed during Cherokee Co. SWAT standoff

    By: Carl Willis


    The parents of a 16-year-old who was killed during a standoff believe Cherokee County deputies went too far.

    Just before Andrew Messina's visitation Sunday, his parents questioned the tactics used by SWAT and negotiators.

    The Etowah High School sophomore was shot by a sniper after he armed himself with a .357 Magnum and barricaded himself in his family's home on Laurel Crest Drive in the Eagle Watch subdivision last week.

    Investigators said the teen held his mother hostage at one point, and said the shot was later taken to protect negotiators.

    Messina's parents told a different story.

    "I told my wife to get out of the house and call the police," said father Nicholas Messina. "The phone call to the police was made from outside the house. At no time did my son have her hostage."

    Channel 2's Carl Willis asked mother Lisa Messina if she ever felt that her life was in danger. She replied, “Absolutely not.”

    Urgency can be heard in her voice on the 911 call that she made.

    "I know he's going to walk out the door!" she's heard screaming at one point.

    Andrew Messina's father said the teen was neither bipolar nor manic depressive. He said his son had ADHD and was dealing with a bout of depression because of a bad grade in school.

    His father repeated some of the things the teen was saying over the phone, "I'm just such a disappointment and such a problem to you and the rest of the world,'" he recalled. "So, the threat was to kill himself, no one else."

    The Cherokee County Sheriff said Andrew Messina was seen pouring alcohol on the curtains and threatened to burn down the house.

    When he broke out glass on the front door, a sniper fired the fatal shot.

    The sheriff said that was to protect negotiators who were just feet away from the door.

    As friends and family filed into the Woodstock Funeral Home for visitation, Andrew Messina's parents called for a change in procedure.

    They believe there was a push for a speedy resolution once Andrew Messina stopped communicating with negotiators.

    "We feel that they really didn't have an alternative plan," Nicholas Messina said.

    "If this is the best they can do then they need a lot of improvement," Lisa Messina said.

    A Cherokee County Sheriff's Office spokesperson declined to comment as the family grieved.

    The shooting is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

    Next Up: