ATHENS, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Police have arrested the gunman suspected of shooting and robbing a University of Georgia lacrosse player and robbing another UGA student near campus in Athens.
Athens-Clarke County police said a tip led officers to a Gwinnett County address at 1:40 a.m. Tuesday. They arrested 20-year-old Athens resident Zarren Garner at a home in Grayson following an intense manhunt. Grayson was charged him with two counts of armed robbery and two counts of aggravated assault.
The shooting happened shortly before 7:15 a.m. Monday at a bus stop in the 2100 block of South Milledge Avenue in Athens. Police said 22-year-old Tate Prezzano was sitting on a bench waiting for a bus when he was shot.
While officers were on the way, they received a report of a second unidentified UGA student robbed at gunpoint at an apartment complex near the bus stop. After an investigation, officers say the two crimes were connected.
At a press conference Tuesday, officials with the ACCPD said that law enforcement had "prior encounters with this individual, so he became the prime suspect." A composite sketch released Monday was also "nearly identical" to Garner, police said.
"Few incidents can be more concerning than a young man standing at the bus stop waiting to go to college whose accosted by an armed assailant, robbed and shot," said Chief Cleveland Spruill, Athens-Clarke County Police Department.
Medics rushed Prezzano to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries.
"I think the most important thing for everybody to know is he is getting rest and we look forward today to him making progress," said Dobbin Prezzano, the victim's father.
He said he was thankful for the outpouring of support from Georgia and beyond, saying that the family was "blessed" that Tate was recovering based on what he went through.
"It was a pretty tough day yesterday. He did get some rest through the evening last night," said Prezzano
His father praised police for their quick action and thanked everyone for their support, including Governor Brian Kemp.
“We received a call from Governor Brian Kemp last night in support of everything these guys were doing, giving them the green light to do everything they needed to do to bring justice back to what was for us certainly a pretty tough situation," said Prezzano.
Prezzano remained hospitalized at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital as of Tuesday evening.