Eagle Watch Teen Killed in Standoff
The 16-year-old Etowah High School student, Andrew Messina, held his mother hostage in their Woodstock-area house, authorities say.
Updated: 9:15 a.m.
A 16-year-old boy was killed Tuesday evening in the Eagle Watch subdivision during a standoff with the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office SWAT team.
"He made a very aggressive move toward the officers that were attempting to negotiate with him," Sheriff Roger Garrison said in an interview aired on WSB.
Classmates from Etowah High School and neighbors in the Towne Lake subdivision were quick to identify the suspect as Andrew Messina on Twitter and send out uplifting messages to his friends and family.
Baily Brim tweeted, "Pray for Andrew Messina & his family tonight. Pronounced dead after being shot. literally in tears. Never know what someone's going through."
Another classmate also confirmed his identity by tweeting he's a sophomore who's new at Etowah.
Barbara Jacoby, spokeswoman for the Cherokee County School District, released the following statement on behalf of the county:
"The Cherokee County School District is deeply saddened by the loss of one of its students. A 16-year-old Etowah High School sophomore died during a domestic disturbance at his home on May 1, 2012. Additional counselors are on the Etowah HS campus today to assist students in need."
The standoff began several hours earlier when the teen's mother called 911 and said she was being held hostage, WSB reported.
Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the sheriff's office, said the officers arrived at 5:50 p.m. at 921 Laurel Crest Drive to find Messina armed with a .357 Magnum revolver.
The mother was safely out of the house before the shooting, which is being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as a standard procedure.
"Negotiators, who had worked their way very close to the front door witnessed the suspect pouring alcohol on the curtains inside the home and heard him threaten to burn the home," Baker said.
Baker said after approximately an hour of negotiations, the suspect either fired his weapon through the glass in the front door or broke the glass with his firearm. This was when the sniper across the street fired a single, fatal shot from his rifle in Messina's abdomen.
Baker said this was "an attempt to protect the negotiators who were within a few feet of the front door".
The firing officer, whose name has not been released, has been placed on routine administrative leave with pay, Baker said.
The Etowah High teenager was transported to Kennestone Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Watch a video interview with Garrison as he recounts the events from the shooting.
Woodstock-Towne Lake Patch will have updates when they are available.