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A Father’s Worst Nightmare

Tyler in his high school yearbook (courtesy of New Fairfield High School)

Early this morning in New Fairfield, Connecticut, Jeffrey Giuliano was sleeping soundly when his neighbor called in a panic. It was after midnight and she was all alone when she heard a strange noise.

It sounded like someone was trying to break into her house.

Giuliano immediately grabbed his gun and went outside to investigate. He crept quietly through the yard, came around the corner of his neighbor’s house and saw a masked figure standing there. The figure came at him with something shiny in his hand, so Giuliano did what anyone would do in that situation.

He shot the stranger.

The police arrived around one o’clock and found Giuliano sitting on his neighbor’s lawn. They immediately checked the body and discovered a horrible truth: it was Giuliano’s own son, 15-year-old Tyler.

For now, no details are being released because the investigation is still underway. And we may never know what possessed Tyler to dress like a burglar, attempt a break-in next door to his home and attack his own father.

I suppose police could find a diary or speak with a friend who knew Tyler’s plans, but tragedies like this always seem to keep us guessing. The worst thing is that Jeffrey Giuliano may never know the truth. All he knows is that ultimately, he killed his own son. It was an accident, of course, but I doubt that brings him any comfort.

He still killed his own son.

As a father, I worry about my son’s well-being constantly. My mind is always running through worst-case scenarios, potential consequences, preventative measures, possible threats… any parents in the crowd undoubtedly know what I mean.

But to have your worst fears realized? Not only that, but to be responsible, however inadvertently, for your child’s death?

My heart truly goes out to Jeffrey Giuliano. And even though I know he may never forgive himself, I hope he gets answers to his questions soon. Maybe then he will find some peace.

UPDATE (Sept. 29, 2012): It turns out the “shiny object” in Tyler’s hand was indeed a knife. And no one has a clue why Tyler would do this, either, not even his friends from school. The night of this incident, Tyler spent some time talking on Skype and playing Minecraft online with his friend Brett. Around 10 p.m., Tyler excused himself and said he was going to bed. Next thing you know he’s dressed in black, wearing a mask, wielding a knife and breaking into homes. Something had to set him off…

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