ATLANTA — Family and friends of a teenager shot and killed after he mistakenly knocked on the wrong apartment door are sharing their grief and anger about his senseless death.
Omarian Banks, 19, was killed early Friday morning at The Retreat apartment complex on Fairburn Road by a man in another apartment.
Darryl Bynes, 32, shot Banks from his balcony around 12:30 a.m., police said.
According to police, Banks got a ride home in a Lyft, and was dropped off near the wrong breezeway around 12:30 a.m. Friday.
Police say Banks and his girlfriend had just moved to the apartment and Banks wasn't familiar with the area. He went to what he thought was his apartment – upstairs and to the left – but he was at the wrong door.
Banks was using FaceTime to talk with his girlfriend when he knocked on the door. Shortly after, he began to walk away from the door. That's when police say the man inside, Bynes grabbed a gun and went onto his balcony to confront Banks. Police say after a short conversation, Bynes shot the teenager.
Channel 2's Michael Seiden talked to Banks' girlfriend, Zsakeria Mathis, about the pain she's felt since witnessing the shooting death of her live-in boyfriend.
Mathis told Seiden that she sent a Lyft to pick up Omarian, who had been hanging out with his mother.
“He got in the Lyft and 12:26 a.m.," Mathis said. "That’s when he called me and said ‘open the door.’ And that was the last conversation we had.”
Mathis said she started to worry when she didn't hear a knock on the door, so she walked outside onto the front porch of her unit.
“I just hear faint voices and a gunshot, and then I hear him yell," Mathis said. "And I heard all the fear in his voice and he was just, 'I’m sorry! I’m at the wrong door!’ The man was like, 'No, you’re not at the wrong door!’ And he shot two more times and then it was silent.”
Mathis said she ran down the stairs but when she got to the parking lot, Banks was already dying.
"I turned him over," Mathis said. "He was moaning and groaning and he had tears in his eyes and he was just bleeding."
Seiden also spoke to Banks' mom, Lisa Johnson, about what she says was the senseless act of violence that took her son's life.
"I'm having a hard time understanding that someone could be that mean and hurt a child," Johnson said. "Stop and think before you pull the trigger," Johnson said.
Johnson said Banks, an aspiring musician, had just landed a new job.
"He loved life. He loved living. He loved his family," Johnson said.
Johnson hopes Omarian's death wakes young people up to how precious life really is.
"It's no joke. You could be here today and gone tomorrow," Johnson said. "Stop and think before you pull the trigger."
Police say Bynes initially told police he shot Banks in self-defense, but officers say he shot the teen from his balcony as Banks was coming down the stairs, trying to get away.
Family friend Michael Wallace described Banks as a hard-working young man who never bothered anybody.
“This is a 19-year-old child that didn’t even deserve to die, that hasn’t even lived his life."
Bynes is charged with murder. He’s being held at the Fulton County Jail.
His family told Pozen they don’t think he should be charged with murder.
“He is an innocent father. He has five kids. He was protecting his family. His truck was stolen earlier this week, right now, he's just trying to protect his family,” said his cousin, Makayla Johnson.
Cox Media Group