Atlanta photographer left with a fractured eye after stranger attacks him with a vacuum in his home

ATLANTA — A popular Atlanta photographer says his career is on hold right now after he was attacked earlier this month.

Channel 2 Action News is not identifying the victim for safety reasons, but the attack happened Oct. 5 in northwest Atlanta.

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“I’ve been shooting professionally for about 5 years,” said the victim.

Channel 2′s Larry Spruill spoke with the victim Monday on WSB Tonight at 11 p.m. He said he remembers the brutal attack like it happened yesterday.

“The guy beat me up pretty badly. He ended up fracturing my eye and I got a severe concussion too,” said the victim.

The victim said the suspect, who the Atlanta Police Department identified as Justin Gilliam, forced himself inside his apartment while he was home.

“This guy walked in, I thought it was my brother. When I realized it wasn’t him, I was like hey bro, I think you got the wrong apartment and he told me to shut the ‘you know what up’, and he started punching me in the eye and beating me up,” the victim said.

According to the police report, Gilliam repeatedly attacked the victim and used a weapon.

“He took the vacuum, some hand-held vacuum that I had, and started beating me across the head with it. It was pretty ruthless,” said the victim.

Spruill asked the victim if he knew Gilliam.

“No, not at all,” said the victim.

Atlanta police said Gilliam lived at the complex and he locked himself inside his apartment. When police arrived, they immediately called SWAT.

Channel 2 Action News crews were there at the scene.

Police arrested Gilliam and charged him with Aggravated Battery-Felony and Sexual Battery-Misdemeanor.


Before the attack, Gilliam also slapped another woman on the butt.

“There are a whole lot of emotions that I’m still trying to process, but I’m just keeping my spirits up,” said the victim.

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Larry Spruill

Larry Spruill, WSB-TV

Larry Spruill Jr. has been part of the WSB-TV family since March 2022. He is an Emmy Nominated Journalist with over 12 years of news and storytelling experience.