Man shot on the way home from Braves game speaks to Channel 2

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:

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ATLANTA —

For the first time, Channel 2 Action News is hearing from the Braves fan shot walking home from a game.

Saman Balkhanian, 22, told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri he had no idea any anything was wrong until two young men pulled out a gun.

Balkhanian was taken out of intensive care Thursday. His family reached out to Viteri saying he wanted to talk about what happened to him Friday night.

He told Viteri he didn't see it coming.

"They just looked like some kids," Balkhanian told Viteri from his hospital bed at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Balkhanian recalls nothing unusual Friday night as he walked along Grant Street in southeast Atlanta.

He said he was on his way home from a Braves game when two young men walked up behind him.

"I was just walking down the street it was a Friday night. Then just out of nowhere they pulled out a gun," Balkhanian said.

He moved his head as one man fired, hitting Balkhanian in the face. He says he started yelling for help and ran down the street to get away from the men.

Balkhanian said he had a new iPhone and cash in his wallet but the men didn't take a thing.

"I'm just angry that that's how petty people's thought processes have become, where you shoot someone to not take anything," Balkhanian said.

The Georgia State graduate said the bullet badly damaged nerves and vision in his right eye, which doctors will likely have to remove.

The attack is a frightening irony according to Balkhanian's friends.

In June of last year, Channel 2 Action News reported a Georgia Tech student shot another who broke into his home on Curran Street. Balkhanian lives in that neighborhood and told friends at the time the violence worried him.

"He made a quote like, 'Am I the next victim? Is my life at risk?' And it's just so ironic to be here in this situation,"  friend Katlyn Daniel said.

He became emotional when he told Viteri one lesson he's learned is not to walk alone at night.

"That one's hard because I really do like to walk," Balkhanian said.

He walks everywhere friends say, something he may now give up.

"Every time I go out to walk or something I'll just get worried something bad is going to happen," Balkhanian said.

If you have any information about this shooting call Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.