ATHENS, Ga. — A former University of Georgia lacrosse player whose life was nearly ended during a 2019 armed robbery is speaking out for the first time after jurors convicted his attacker.
Channel 2′s Michael Seiden spoke exclusively with the young man and his father about his survival and his determination to now help others.
Tate Prezzano was waiting at a bus stop near UGA’s campus when he was shot three times in the head and neck. One of the bullets stopping just a millimeter from his spine.
“It’s been nothing short of amazing. Millimeters away, this could’ve been completely different,” Tate told Seiden.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
An Athens-Clarke county jury returned its guilty verdict against Zarren Garner, the man who attacked Tate, last month. Garner was convicted on multiple charges, including criminal attempt to commit murder and armed robbery.
“The trial was brutal. Seeing and hearing things we had not heard before and getting the perspective of body cam,” said Tate’s father Dobbin.
“At the end of the day, the big word was accountability. That’s what we got from it,” said Tate.
- 5 injured in drive-by shooting near DeKalb County smoke shop
- Georgia’s own Willie Spence is an ‘American Idol’ finalist competing for the crown
- Pastor of metro Atlanta mega-church announces retirement
The journey to justice has not been easy on Tate’s mind or body.
“I still have quite a bit of pain my left arm, pretty bad nerve damage there,” he said.
Garner fired three shots into the now-24-year-old, wounding his neck and shoulder. A third bullet lodged itself just a millimeter from Tate’s spine.
“This is one of the bullet scars right here. I have one in my shoulder and one in the back of my head,” Tate told Seiden.
Tate refuses to let this traumatic event define the rest of his life.
“[I] didn’t let him take anything from me that day, and I’m not going to let him take anything from me anytime soon,” he said.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Since the shooting, the Tate Tough Foundation has focused on his recovery. It also awards scholarships to college lacrosse players and promotes campus security. They have even partnered with different companies that are providing safety measures on college campuses.