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Parents call cops about their suicidal son, then a police sniper shot him in the back

Cherokee County teen shot by police sniper, parents speak out - CBS Atlanta 46

CHEROKEE COUNTY, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The parents of a 16-year-old suicidal boy spoke only with CBS Atlanta News' Wendy Saltzman after their son was gunned down by a police sniper in Cherokee County.

Lisa and Nick Messina said their son was killed at the hands of the officers they called for help.

According to his parents, Andrew Messina had a bad day at school and the pressure was so overwhelming, he grabbed a gun and threatened to kill himself.

Lisa Messina called the cops in desperation, hoping an officer would come talk to him. But what arrived was an army of deputies, an armored tank and a sniper.

"We would still be sitting there today if it weren't for that very, very aggressive act that he made of ramming the gun and a pistol straight through a glass door at our officers," said Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison, on the day after the shooting.

Garrison painted a picture of a dangerous gunman taking aim at his officers, and defended his sniper's fire.

"Had that officer not taken the action, there is a good chance one of those negotiators that was there who also has a family, also would not be going home today," Garrison said.

But the other side of this story has never been told before, a story about a boy described as a pacifist who some say was needlessly killed.

"Would you have ever called the police if you had known this could have happened?" Chief Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman asked Lisa Messina.

"That's the one thing I would have done different today. I would not have called 911," she said.

Andrew Messina's parents are speaking out for the first time to tell what they say really happened to their son on May 1, 2012. They say their son had just gotten a bad grade at school.