The military classified Andrew Velez's death as a non-combat related injury. Once officials released that information, questions and rumors followed. Andrew's father, Roy Velez did not wish to speak about the circumstances until after his son's funeral. Friday, Roy Spoke with NewsChannel 11 for the first time on camera about the events leading up to Andrew's death.
Many people have already heard that Andrew died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Roy tells us he knew something was troubling his son, but much like his brother Freddy, Andrew wanted to be strong. "He never let go of Fred. Silently, he would tell me about Fred and said, 'Daddy, I want to let go, but I can't', he said, 'I've got to finish what my brother started'," said Roy.
Andrew brought his fallen brother Freddy back from Iraq, after Freddy was killed in Fallujah. Roy says that experience deeply affected Andrew. Then, in December of 2005 Andrew suffered a severe flashback. "He was calling out 'get down, get down, get down. I'm not going to died. I'm going home. I'm going home to my babies', at the top of his lungs," said Roy.
Roy also told us about a report where Andrew held his wife Veronica in a room during another flashback. "I knew that there was trouble inside," said Roy. Andrew was ordered to seek psychiatric treatment, and Roy tells us Andrew did attend a few sessions. "But, yet he was locking up inside," said Roy.
Roy also says Andrew was experiencing marital problems. "You're overseas fighting a war for a country, a flag, a family and then you get news that there is another man in your home trying to run your household. What are you suppose to respond? We know that it was a self-inflicted wound, from a 249 rifle; we know that there was a last phone call made. Veronica told me that Andrew was upset. I asked her at what, and she said that it was just personal stuff, and it was none of my business. Is it because he didn't get enough psychological evaluation? Or was it because of the marital problems? His wife had asked him for a divorce? Who holds the smoking gun?" asked Roy.
Roy says he does not blame any person for Andrew's death. He says he blames the evil spirits surrounding it. Despite an outbreak of emotion towards the end of Friday's service, Roy says the ceremony was beautiful.
Hundreds Pay Their Respects To Andrew Velez
Friday, family members will lay fallen soldier Andrew Velez to rest. Thursday night, family, friends, and some people who've never met Andrew, took part in a memorial service to celebrate Andrew's life and to say goodbye.