ATLANTA — Two college athletes are sitting in jail after police said they were part of a violent home invasion.
When Lauren Rielly and her teammate Lyndsey Kallish heard about a house party at an Airbnb rental in southeast Atlanta, the two Life University lacrosse players started masterminding a plan to pull off the brazen armed robbery, court documents revealed.
Around 1:45 a.m. on Nov. 8, Rielly and Kallish got into a car with Maxx Pritchett, 23, and an unidentified suspect, and drove to the party on 1040 Wylie Street in Atlanta's Reynoldstown neighborhood, where they informed Pritchett and the other man that there would be "large amounts of cash and narcotics." The two male suspects told the college teammates they would go to the party to "take the drugs" and would "provide cash" to them in return, court documents filed in Fulton County confirmed.
Once they arrived, a neighbor's surveillance camera captured the two women as they entered the house party. It also showed the two male suspects walked across the street and wait in a neighbor's yard. Surveillance footage shows the women leaving and then minutes later, police say two masked gunmen stormed into the house where they robbed and assaulted several guests.
Victim Speaks Out
Channel 2's Michael Seiden spoke with one of the victims who was beaten so badly during the incident he thought he might not survive.
Vik Gattani, 23, a local DJ, said he was hired to play at the party.
On Monday night, Gattani told Seiden that one of the robbers pistol-whipped him. He was taken to a hospital with a fractured skull.
"He hit me on the head and busted my head open," Gattani said.
Gattani says the blow knocked him off his feet and onto the floor.
"I didn't want to get back up because I was so scared," he added. "I felt like if I moved, I was instantly going to get shot or die."
- 16 kids, 3 adults taken to hospital after carbon monoxide poisoning at day care
- Couple faked daughter's illness, forced teen to take THC drops, warrant says
Gattani says he remembers how the masked men began shouting at the partygoers, demanding keys, wallets and phones.
Scared for his life, Gattani tried to remain calm when one of the armed robbers started walking toward him.
"I was in a fetal position on the ground because I was terrified," he said. "He came over to me and started grabbing my collar and then he hit me on the head and busted my head open."
Gattani says the armed robber dragged him across the floor and then demanded his wallet and phone.
"I started crying," he recalled. "I looked at my hands and realized they were covered in blood."
Gattani passed out and woke up on the kitchen floor but the robbers were gone.
Paramedics rushed him to the hospital where doctors saved his life.
"I had a fractured skull and a blood clot in my brain and a laceration that needed four staples," he added.
Gattani spent several days in the hospital. He's now recovering at home, and doctors expect him to make a full recovery.
After the robbery, the surveillance video shows the masked men running from the home with a bag full of stolen wallets and phones.
Police confirmed to Seiden that three of suspects are in custody, but one of the gunmen remains on the run.
"All are charged with a multitude of charges, including armed robbery. And then we have a fourth outstanding suspect," Sgt. John Chafee, with the Atlanta Police Department, said.
Accused gunman is no stranger to home invasion
Channel 2 Action News confirmed with police that Prichett is one of five people accused in the death of Jose Greer, who jumped from his third-floor apartment balcony to escape a home invasion.
In 2015, Greer, 51, was inside his apartment when three intruders tired to kick in the door at his Oak Street apartment in Atlanta's West End neighborhood. In a desperate attempt to escape his intruders, Greer jumped from his third-floor balcony and suffered multiple fractures. He died during surgery six hours later.
While the home invasion was taking place, Pritchett and another defendant waited outside in a getaway car. In 2018, Pritchett pleaded guilty to first-degree burglary and was ordered to serve two years in prison and eight years of probation. As soon a judge handed down his sentence, Pritchett was released from jail because he served his time while waiting for his punishment.
Prichett was still on probation from that case.
House of Horrors
Talk to any resident who lives in Atlanta's Reynoldstown neighborhood and chances are they have a complaint about the house at 1040 Wylie Street.
"It's been home to every big party," said a neighbor who asked us not to identify him. "It's an Airbnb property and it's really disrupted this entire block."
"It's led to a lot of police and a lot of neighborhood disturbances," he added.
Channel 2 reached out to Atlanta police and a spokesman confirmed that there have been 17 calls for service since January. All but six of the calls were for noise complaints, according to APD.
Property records show the home is registered to Kenyon Street LLC, which is registered to John Morrison. On Monday, Channel 2 reached out to Morrison about the complaints and the recent armed robbery. He declined to comment, but promised to address complaints after he learns more about the incidents.
A spokesman for Airbnb confirmed the company is looking into the matter.
Life University released the following statement about the incident allegedly involving its players:
"Life University is aware of the arrests and ongoing investigation involving two of our students, and we understand the serious nature of the incident. At this time, both students have been placed on interim suspension from the institution, pending the outcome of University process. The University has no further comment on the investigation until all matters have been settled through the legal system."
Cox Media Group