Christian Massey, a 21-year-old former athlete at Marple Newtown High School in Newton Square, Penn., was gunned down over the weekend by an unknown assailant who was trying to rob him of his Beats by Dre headphones.
According to Joseph Santoliquito of the Philadelphia Daily News, Massey, who was mentally disabled, was shot in the driveway of a home in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia on Saturday. Police have not identified a person of interest in the case nor have they made any arrests, but claim the unknown murderer attempted to rob Massey of his headphones.
Massey, a 6'2", 300-pound former multi-sport athlete at Marple Newton, was shot in the chest and pronounced dead later Saturday evening at a local hospital. Conscious when he arrived, Massey was able to describe what happened to police before passing, per Aubrey Whelan of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
He was one of six people murdered in a 36-hour span in Philadelphia over the weekend.
Described as a "gentle giant" by teammates, Massey was held in a state ward for mentally challenged children until the age of 12 and attended Marple Newton for six years. He transferred over daily from Don Guanella School, a local special-needs school that closed its doors in 2012 and worked in conjunction with Marple Newton to allow Massey to play sports.
The young man, beloved by coaches and teammates alike, played varsity basketball and football and served as the team manager for the baseball club. Head football coach Ray Gionta told the Daily News that Massey was not the type to get into confrontations:
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. Athletically, he had some ability. He was a big kid who could move. 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.
By all accounts, Massey had a reputation as someone who would go out of his way to help others at all costs. He played a season of lacrosse as a goalie despite never having played the sport before, and Marple Newton assistant principal Dennis Reardon said Massey's untimely death has "rocked" the school, which houses suburban Philadelphia townships of Newtown and Marple.
"That's what is so shocking about this tragedy," Reardon said. "Christian was the nicest kid. He was such a big part of Marple Newtown."
After graduating from high school last year, Massey was in the beginning stages of learning construction in Johnstown, Pa.
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