Family of man shot walking home from Braves game speaks out

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ATLANTA —

The sister of a Braves fan who was shot while walking home from a game says he has lost sight in one eye.

Aysan Balkhanian said her 22-year-old brother, Saman, called her Friday night after the Braves game to tell her he was walking home. Less than an hour later, she received a call from Grady Memorial Hospital telling her someone had shot him in the face.

“All I could hear was my brother screaming in the background,” Balkhanian said.

She said her brother walks everywhere. After Friday night’s Braves game he was walking home on Grant Street in southeast Atlanta around 10:30 p.m. when he was shot.

“It’s really appalling that at 10:30 walking home could get you killed. That’s terrifying,” Balkhanian said.

She said her brother was able to tell police that two young men walked up laughing. He said they didn’t ask for anything, but shot him in the face and ran away.

“They shot him in the head with the intention of killing him, but he turned his head so the bullet missed his brain,” Balkhanian said.

Saman Balkhanian stumbled 200 feet before neighbors saw him and called 911. The recent Georgia State graduate has been in the intensive care unit at Grady Memorial Hospital since that night.

Doctors said he will not have brain damage, but the bullet damaged nerves and caused him to lose sight in one eye.

Balkhanian described her younger brother as a goofball who is loved by everyone. She hopes someone will come forward with information to help police make an arrest.

“I don’t wish this upon anybody, but it’s not fair. It’s just not acceptable at all,” Balkhanian said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-TIPS.