Several reports say Cooper “Harris” Andrews, 26, was killed on April 19 while guarding the Road of Life humanitarian corridor in Bakhmut.
Cleveland Heights, Ohio — former US Marine from Cleveland According to several published reports, Heights was killed while protecting evacuees in Ukraine last month.
Cooper “Harris” Andrews died on April 19 while defending the “Road of Life” humanitarian corridor in Bakhmut. He was the first to know about his death April 30 by journalist Jake Hanrahanwith additional reports released on Monday.
Several reports claim that Andrews was killed by mortar fire along with members of the International Resistance Committee. Apparently, they were ambushed while protecting the evacuees.
A State Department spokesperson told 3News: “We can confirm the death of a US citizen in Ukraine. We are in contact with the family and provide all possible consular assistance. Out of respect for the family’s privacy, we have nothing more to add at this difficult time.”
According to childhood friend Graham Ball, Andrews, 26, has been serving in Ukraine since November and was recently in Bakhmut, where he joined a unit called the Resistance Committee.
Ball said he and Andrews have been friends since they were eight years old when they met as neighbors who lived in Cleveland Heights. Ball said they both attended Roxborough High School and Heights High School and were involved in choir and musicals.
“When we were kids, he would organize me and the other neighborhood kids into little military units, he was always that marshal-like mentality,” Ball said.
From a young age, Andrews’ desire to serve and fight for what he believed in seems to have been evident.
“I remember in high school he was telling everyone about Putin’s illegal election and how horrible what Putin is doing in Russia,” Ball said. “So it wasn’t a passing craze for Cooper, it’s something he’s been training for, I feel, his whole life.”
Ball said Andrews had a big political influence on him, opening his eyes to the many injustices in the world. Ball said Andrews was involved in the community, fighting childhood hunger on Cleveland’s west side and organizing Rhizome House in Cleveland Heights.
Andrews fought wildfires in the west and served in the US Marine Corps. According to Bol, when the war started in Ukraine, he felt called to help.
“I think it’s also important that Cooper went clearly as an anti-fascist militia. He went to fight the authoritarian regime that Putin tried to establish in Ukraine,” Bol said.
Ball said that before leaving for Ukraine, Andrews was in his apartment and was laying out military supplies.
“I was looking forward to having a beer with him when he got back,” Ball said. – It is hard to believe that it is not.
About a month and a half before his death, Andrews sent Ball a message about why he thought it was important to go to Ukraine. In particular, it said: “We have a world to conquer and a struggle that requires great sacrifice. For us and all who face the shadow of fascist aggression, there is only victory or death. Love and struggle.”
Another friend of Andrews, who declined to be interviewed, told 3News she hopes those who see Andrews’ story “will do something kind and brave in his memory.”
A GoFundMe was started by Andrews’ mother, Willow, to raise money for the Cooper Andrews Memorial Fund. According to the GoFundMe, the fund will “support the families of foreign anti-fascist fighters in Ukraine, feed hungry children in the city of Cleveland, and fund the public spaces in Cleveland that Cooper was dedicated to creating. It’s not about starting something new, it’s about continuing the good things that Cooper started.”
In a statement to 3News, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District said, “The CH-UH City School District is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former student Cooper Andrews. This tragedy tells of the grief and devastation caused by war. We extend our sincere condolences to Cooper’s family and friends.”
“Cooper was a dear friend to many of us at RZH and he was a comrade to us all. Cooper helped found our project. If it was only a vague idea, he clearly saw its necessity and potential. When we were fickle and on the verge of being fired, he kept us on the hook. When he was busy training and becoming the soldier we honor, he set aside funds that would have gone towards paying the costs of opening our physical center. The anarchist movement in Cleveland would be nothing without him, and his absence is painful. He is our hero, and his memory is an example of courage, self-sacrifice and the principles of autonomy, solidarity and internationalism. We love you Cooper,” Cleveland Heights-based The Rhizome House wrote on his social media platforms.
The Kyiv Post reports that since February 24, more than 100 foreign volunteers who fought on the side of Ukraine have died in the battles.