‘Grateful I got out with my life’: Newnan student recalls moments after shooting near prom

A Newnan teenager says the school’s prom night took a scary turn over the weekend after five teens were shot nearby in downtown Atlanta.

"I was really shocked," said McKenna Zysk, a junior at Newnan High School. "We were dancing, having a lot of fun, we got in there, it was a lot of security."

That’s when things took a turn for the worse outside the College Football Hall of Fame, where the school was holding its prom downtown. Police said someone started shooting right before 10 p.m. on Andrew Young International Blvd. near Centennial Olympic Park near the Waffle House.

Authorities say the victims are between the ages of 15 and 19, two of whom were later arrested after they allegedly stole a car from a valet to drive to the hospital.


Nearly 20,000 kids from across the country were in the area attending the DECA International Development Conference at the Georgia World Congress Center near the site of the shooting.

Dean Jackson, a spokesperson for Coweta County School System, says none of its students or attendees were involved or hurt and many were still inside the prom when the shooting happened.

However, one of the bullets ended up hitting the party bus Zysk was about to board.

"It’s one of those things that a parent never wants to hear," said Stephanie Zysk, McKenna’s mom. "She called me and said, ‘Hey mom, I’m still at prom, just want to let you know I’m safe.’"

Panicked for an explanation, Zysk asked her daughter if she could talk the principal on the phone.


"They couldn’t have handled it any better," Zysk said. "My daughter was there with our principal, Chase Puckett, and she was able to hand the phone right to him."

"The NHS prom was scheduled to wrap up at 10 p.m., so our students were still pretty much indoors at a different location at the time it happened," school spokesperson Jackson said in an email Sunday. "Some of our administrators and teachers on-site became aware of what happened, and they did a good job of ensuring departures and pick-ups were handled securely, and the event ended as scheduled. […APD] did a good job communicating with our folks as well, so I have heard that the Newnan folks on-site really appreciated the way they handled it."

It's unclear if police anticipate any further charges or are looking for any other suspects following the shooting.