Veteran who killed himself and son suffered from depression, kin say
Krissy Scaccia said she rushed to Foxborough last Thursday night to try to stop a tragedy, but arrived too late. Her older brother, William F. Scaccia Jr., had murdered his 6-year-old son, Anthony, before killing himself.
“I wasn’t afraid of what I was going to see. I was more afraid of what I was going to find — that I wasn’t going to get there to stop him,” Krissy Scaccia, 45, said Tuesday. “He was a brilliant, amazing guy that suffered from something that so many people suffer from, and he just couldn’t be saved from it.”
Relatives are planning to hold a wake in Norwood on Wednesday for William Scaccia, 49, and his son. They will be buried together at a cemetery in Dedham, said Dianne Usevich, Scaccia’s mother and Anthony’s paternal grandmother.
In separate interviews, Usevich and Krissy Scaccia said William Scaccia was a compassionate father who struggled with depression following his military service in Iraq and failed to get adequate treatment. He took Prozac, which is prescribed for depression, but insisted he didn’t need more help, his mother said.
He loved Anthony, they said, but he also worried that his son was being bullied, and he disagreed with some educators who believed the boy required special education. Anthony had just started kindergarten at Mabelle M. Burrell Elementary School in Foxborough.
William Scaccia had been bullied as a child, Usevich said, and resented being pulled out of regular classes for special education.
“My son didn’t want [Anthony] to live the life he lived,” Usevich said. “He knew his life would be miserable just like his father’s . . . My son did what he thought was best for both of them.”
William Scaccia fatally shot Anthony at 11:30 p.m. Thursday before shooting himself, the authorities have said. The murder-suicide occurred at the East Street home where Anthony lived with his mother, Laurie Tolliver. Scaccia also lit gasoline in the house in an attempt to burn it down.
Krissy Scaccia said she feared tragedy was imminent when her son Jared Hunt, a Marine stationed in Okinawa,f Japan, called and told her William Scaccia had recently made an ominous post on Facebook.
“My brother left a note on Facebook like a suicide note and he said he was taking his son with him,” said Krissy Scaccia, an emergency medical technician from Dedham. “He said, ‘I will not leave him behind.’ ”
“Any person that takes their own life or takes a child’s life, they’re not in their right frame of mind,” Krissy Scaccia said. “They’ve gone to a place that no one else can understand. They’re not in place that anybody could ever imagine.”
William Scaccia, who went by Billy, had been in a downward spiral, relatives said. He was arrested four days earlier on weapons charges, but released on his own recognizance. He was also facing assault and battery charges.
William Scaccia had also lost job as a steeplejack and his girlfriend had broken up with him, relatives said.
“Things were just caving in on him and he just couldn’t find a way out,” Krissy Scaccia said.
Tolliver declined to comment Tuesday, but in television interviews she said she blames William Scaccia’s actions on his depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Court papers describe Scaccia as an Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq from 2002 to 2003 and again in 2003 and 2004 before he was honorably discharged in 2008, after 22 years of service. He had joined the Army after graduating from Dedham High School in 1986.
Scaccia graduated from Northeastern University in 1996 and later worked at the VA Medical Center, court records show. He held a nursing degree and worked on local film sets, rigging lights and other gear.
Although he was never convicted of a crime, Scaccia had repeated run-ins with the law. Tolliver obtained the restraining order against him in 2013.
In July, Foxborough Police Chief William D. Baker denied Scaccia’s application for a gun license, arguing that he had lied to authorities who came to seize his guns when Tolliver obtained the restraining order.
Scaccia was most recently arrested on Sept. 18, after his former girlfriend asked police to remove one of his firearms from her home, a police report said. The woman made the request after Scaccia allegedly attacked her brother-in-law and brandished a knife, the report said.
Charges were filed in both cases, but Scaccia had been arraigned only in the firearms case. During the brief proceeding, a prosecutor said she wouldn’t seek bail for Scaccia, but asked that he turn over his firearms. The Norfolk district attorney’s office has said prosecutors didn’t seek to hold Scaccia because he had a history of showing up for court.