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, 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.
"I heard him say, 'Sorry, I'm at the wrong house.' Then the man said, 'No you're not. N****, you at the right house.' And he shot two more times," Banks' girlfriend told Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach the morning the shooting happened.
Another witness told a similar story.
"I see him running around the corner and all you hear him saying is, 'I am sorry. It was the wrong door,'" a neighbor told Channel 2's Lauren Pozen. "(He said), 'You ain't come to the wrong door' and shot him a third time. I saw him drop to the ground."
Channel 2's Michael Seiden talked to Banks' girlfriend, Zsakeria Mathis, the day after the shooting about the pain she's felt since it happened.
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.
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."
Channel 2's Michael 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 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,” family
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