Man Kills Self at Ground Zero

Man Kills Self at Ground Zero (Fox – AP)

A 25-year-old university worker from Georgia shot and killed himself at ground zero Saturday morning, authorities said. The man, Andrew Veal, of Athens, Ga., was found atop the structure housing the 1 and 9 subway lines after a hotel worker spotted what he believed was somebody sleeping inside the site around 8 a.m., said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. A shotgun was found near the body, Coleman said. No suicide note was found, he said.

Veal apparently was distraught over President Bush’s re-election, Newsday reported Saturday on its Web site edition, citing an unnamed police source. The newspaper also said the man was a registered Democrat who opposed the war in Iraq.

Man commits suicide at Ground Zero (Newsday)

Distraught over the re-election of President George W. Bush, a Georgia man traveled to New York City, went to Ground Zero and killed himself with a shotgun blast, police said yesterday. The suicide victim, Andrew Veal, 25, was discovered just before 8 a.m. yesterday when a worker for the Millennium Hotel looking at Ground Zero from an upper floor saw a man lying atop the concrete structure through which the 1 and 9 subway lines run. The worker, thinking the man was sleeping, alerted colleagues and the Port Authority police were notified. But when they got to Veal’s body, they realized he had killed himself with a shot to the head from a .12-gauge shotgun.

No suicide note was found, but according to a Port Authority police source, family members said Veal, a registered Democrat, was despondent over Bush’s defeat of Sen. John Kerry. A second source said Veal, who lived in Athens, Ga., and worked for the University of Georgia, was also adamantly opposed to the war in Iraq.

More than three years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Ground Zero remains a top tourist attraction, the site rife with symbolism. Visitors there yesterday reacted in different ways to news of Veal’s suicide. Bobbie Jensen, 54, a Republican from Phoenix, said that while she understood how Bush’s victory disturbed those who dislike him, Ground Zero is not the place to act on those emotions. “You can be upset about the war, about Bush, but this is a sacred place,” she said. “You got to accept what happened and not kill yourself.” But Frank Franca, an East Village artist and registered Democrat, suggested the suicide was symbolic. “I’m very moved by it,” he said. “Obviously, this person was devastated. I can see why he would come here.”

Franca’s friend, Jeffim Kuznetsov, a 25-year-old student from Russia who lives in Atlanta, said the suicide is evidence of how deeply many Americans were affected by Kerry’s defeat. “It’s a national tragedy,” he said. “This election is devastating to all who believe in democracy.”

Another visitor to Ground Zero, Arushi Raval, 34, a businesswoman who lives in Chelsea, said Veal might have been active in campaigning for Kerry, only to taste defeat. “Maybe he felt ineffective,” she said of the victim. “You feel ineffective if you tried and it all failed. “I know so many New Yorkers who are depressed over this.”


Update (11-9): A further examination of Veal’s suicide note brings his motives into question:

At first, his friends believed he killed himself over the outcome of the election, but his written musings never mention it. His first entry is about buying the gun, the same gun he used to kill himself sometime early Saturday while he sat on a concrete box in the pit of Ground Zero with a bottle of Jack Daniels at his side. “I got 60 rounds of shells and I’m driving toward the beach or Jersey. I’m still in Walmart . . . I just bought a Smith and Wesson 12-gauge action shotgun. I can’t wait to fire it. I can contact Trent, but if I do I won’t tell him about the shotgun because he’ll get nervous.” As he drives closer to Manhattan, Veal reveals his anguish over two women.

Veal who was engaged to an Iowa college student, Audrey Grieme, 21, reveals his feelings toward another woman named Karen, who lives in Athens. “I think I expressed my feelings to Karen with all certainty today. What bad timing. What an ass- – – I am. I learned early what it is to fall in love with someone. But I never learned how not to.” “She doesn’t deserve the turmoil I am sure to put her through. She is one of the most altruistic people.”

Quite bizarre in any case.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Democracy, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. anon says:

    Eh, one less democrat, although I thought they didn’t believe in guns.

  2. BoDiddly says:

    Franca’s friend, Jeffim Kuznetsov, a 25-year-old student from Russia who lives in Atlanta, said the suicide is evidence of how deeply many Americans were affected by Kerry’s defeat. “It’s a national tragedy,” he said. “This election is devastating to all who believe in democracy.”

    Um . . . maybe this “student” should study the meaning of the word “democracy?”

    I’m afraid this is an all-too-accurate picture of the mentality that has overtaken much of young America, due to the prevalence of pragmatism, moral relativism, and secular humanism being so widely promoted.

  3. Well, you all remember the massive suicides of Republicans when Clinton won. There were thousands. Would you believe it, thousands?

    Would you believe hundreds?

    Would you believe dozens?

    How about one or two?

  4. M. Murcek says:

    This is cult behavior, not political behavior…

  5. Meezer says:

    He’s young enough that he could have been entirely schooled in a “we don’t play games where there are winners and losers because someone might feel badly” environment.
    The word that seems to have trouble sinking into Democratic craniums is “lose.”
    Lose: fail to keep or to maintain; cease to have, either physically or in an abstract sense

  6. neil says:

    Absolutely disgusting comments all around. Well done, folks, for assuming that this man had no mental problems besides his political leanings.

  7. McGehee says:

    You’re wrong, Neil. We think his mental illness and his political leanings were related.

  8. Kate says:

    The ever insightful and concilliatory McGeehee…

  9. McGehee says:

    Conciliatory? When you call me that, smile.

  10. Miranda J says:

    This man must not have realized President Bush is only president for his last term, than he is gone from his seat. G.W. Bush was re-elected for a reason, to finish what was started. Kerry’s defeat is only tragic if you view it that way.

  11. McGeheeIsAnAss says:

    You should be ashamed of yourself. How can you mock such a tragic thing for both the families of the WTC attack and this unfortunate individual. What happened to decency and human kindness in America?

  12. Dan says:

    except for one thing…the suicide note tells us that he was in love with two women. I think that’s a more compelling reason to shoot himself, not four more years. I happen to know one of these women, and trust me, this was not a political statement…it was a tragedy with political timing. Btw, why don’t you people take a man’s suicide more seriously? People don’t kill themselves over George Bush’s re-election. Think, idiots–there’s a more likely answer to his problems…