A beloved former high school athlete is dead, and the community he represented is struggling to wrap its head around how fate could be so cruel to a man known as the kindest of souls.
On Saturday afternoon, Christian Massey was shot in the chest in Philadelphia’s Overbook neighborhood. Police say he was killed for the $300 pair of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones that he purchased the previous day during Black Friday sales. One report claims he was shot in front of a group of children. When Massey was discovered by officers in the neighborhood he was quickly transported to University of Pennsylvania hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.
Though he was 21, Massey was a June graduate of Marple Newtown High (Newtown Square, Penn.), a school he was allowed to attend for six years because he had mental limitations. According to the Philadelphia Daily News and other sources, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Massey was a member of the school’s football team and basketball team. He even stepped in to play goalie on the junior varsity lacrosse team when the program didn’t have one, just so he could help out some friends.
The leader of Marple Newtown’s Life Skills Program called Massey "her success story" and said his death felt like the loss of one of her own children.
"It didn't matter that Chris was here all day at school. He was on the basketball team, the football team, the lacrosse team," Matthews told the Daily News. "He was very social. Everyone knew him. Everyone liked him. He'll be very missed. He made such a success of himself. He had a job. He wanted to cook and build things. It's hit me like one of my own children died.
"Chris will always be a special part of our lives. Chris would always say, 'Let's not worry, let's move on.' I'm going to try to carry those words with me, because that's the way Chris was."
Massey's former football coach remembered him with similar fondness.
"Christian was a great kid who was also a responsible kid, too, and let you know when or if he wasn't able to make practice," Marple Newtown football coach Ray Gionta said. "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."
- - - - - - -