A mentally challenged high school graduate whom classmates described as a “gentle giant” was reportedly shot to death on Saturday over a pair of headphones.
Christian Massey, 21, was shot and killed in Overbook, Pa., Saturday afternoon when he resisted a robber who wanted his $300 “Beats by Dr. Dre” headphones, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. Authorities transported Massey to a local hospital, where he survived long enough to provide details of the robbery. However, he died of his wounds later that night.
Massey became a ward of the state when he was 12 years old, but he used weekend passes to visit his family in West Philadelphia while attending Marple Newtown, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Last Thursday, he had Thanksgiving dinner at his grandmother’s house in that area. On Black Friday, Massey traded in his old set of “Beats by Dre” headphones for a new model. As he walked through the streets of Philadelphia the next day to meet up with his friends, the unknown robber confronted him and demanded that he hand over the headphones, the Philadelphia Enquirer reports. When Massey refused, the assailant fired.
With his mental challenges, Massey initially attended Don Guanella School, an institution for special needs boys, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. However, he transferred to Marple Newtown High School as part of a special program and became a member of the school’s varsity football and basketball teams. The 6-foot-2, 300-pound man graduated from Marple Newtown last June and reportedly planned to enter the construction business.
Though Massey spent just two years at Marple Newtown, he left an indelible impact on his teachers, coaches and classmates. "Christian was a great kid who was also a responsible kid, and he let you know when or if he wasn't able to make practice,” Marple Newtown football coach Ray Gionta told the Daily News. “Athletically, he had some ability. He was a big kid who could move.”
Continue Reading Below
Gionta added that he didn’t believe Massey did anything to provoke the shooting. “Knowing Christian and what I know about the shooting, there probably wasn't any confrontation. He would avoid that at all costs. He didn't have a mean streak in his body. The kids absolutely loved Christian,” he said.