Ground Zero suicide follows post-election despair
A man fatally shot himself at Ground Zero of the World Trade Centre in New York, and friends believe the tragic suicide was a political protest against President George W Bush's re-election and the war in Iraq.
The body of Andrew Veal, 25, a university research worker from the southern state of Georgia who was engaged to be married, was found on the site of the September 11 terror attacks yesterday morning, his family and officials said.
Veal didn't leave a note, but those who knew the sensitive young man said he sent a grim message by choosing to end his life where almost 3,000 people perished.
"I'm absolutely sure it's a protest," said Mary Anne Mauney, Veal's supervisor at the University of Georgia survey research lab. "I don't know what made him commit suicide, but where he did it was symbolic."
"I see it as a political statement," agreed co-worker Stacey Sutherland. "He was so opposed to the war."
When Veal failed to show up at work on Wednesday, his pals assumed he was upset that Bush had beaten John Kerry in the race for the White House and was taking a few days off.
"We figured he was just devastated," Mauney said.
But fears for his safety grew when he didn't returns calls from his mother and his fiancee, an Iowa college student who was supposed to meet him in Seattle this weekend for a family wedding.
Hope turned to heartache yesterday when Veal's body was found. He had a head wound and police recovered a shotgun nearby.
"Andy was so anti-violence, I can't even see him holding a gun," Sutherland said.
Mauney said that other than the war and the election, she didn't know what might have been troubling Veal.
"I told his mother there are some people so sensitive and intelligent and passionate they don't belong in the world the way it is today," she said.