Michael Lash knew he had a broken leg and he couldn’t feel his other foot. One bullet had gone in the front of his thigh and out the back.
While trying to protect his wife and two young children, the northwest Atlanta father was shot in both legs Sunday evening, the beginning of a few terrifying moments for the family. As Lash was recovering Tuesday, Atlanta police were investigating the home invasion, hopeful that security cameras on neighboring homes and evidence left behind would help identify the suspects.
The Lash family had just returned to their Sumter Street home from vacation Sunday night when two male teenagers approached Lash on his front porch, witnesses told police. The teens — one in a yellow shirt, the other in a red one — asked if they could borrow a jack for their car and tried to force their way inside as two other teens stood across the street, police said.
When Lash tried to close the door, he was shot by the teen in yellow, who had a short afro and tattoos and piercings on his face, Lash was able to tell witnesses and police.
Inside the home, Lash’s wife, Whitney, heard the shots, grabbed the couple’s 6-month-old daughter and ran toward the back door, her mother, Jessica Huffman, told Channel 2 Action News. Whitney Lash called 911, and in a hushed voice, told the operator her husband had been shot.
“I just ran outside with my baby,” the mother said in the 911 call.
The suspects fired two shots at the mother, but missed her as she ran out the back door and to a nearby home for help.
“He followed her and caught up with her at the gate and she turned around and said, ‘Please don’t shoot me, I have a little baby,’” Huffman said.
Whitney Lash gave her cell phone to a suspect, but neither she nor the infant were injured. The couple’s 2-year-old son was asleep upstairs in the home and also was not injured.
At least two neighbors called 911 to report the shooting Sunday evening, with one neighbor telling the operator she thought the suspects were about 15 or 16 years old.
The teenage suspects ransacked the family’s home, but were gone when officers arrived. None of the suspects had been identified Tuesday, police said. Two iPhones taken from the family were tracked for about a quarter-mile before they were turned off.
Michael Lash was able to speak to the first officers who arrived, though he was in immediate need of emergency treatment, according to police. One officer used his fingers to temporarily plug the man’s wounds.
“I ordered other officers on scene to get a belt so that we could tourniquet his right leg,” the officer wrote in the police report. “I kept talking to Mr. Lash to keep him conscious until Fire and EMS units arrived on scene.”
Inside the home, officers found three shell casings from a .40 caliber pistol and two slugs, according to police. A broken cigarette lighter converter was found in the front yard along with a cell phone charger.
Neighbors told Channel 2 they were shocked to learn of the home invasion and shooting, calling the area a quiet neighborhood. Neighbor Rance Jiles said he’s lived in the neighborhood for 40 years.
“It was just a shock,” Jiles said. “Why they picked them out of the neighborhood to do this to, these young people, I don’t understand it.”
Michael Lash underwent emergency surgery, but is expected to fully recover from his injuries. Lash was set to begin a new job when he was shot, according to a family friend. A fundraising page was created to help the Lash family with medical expenses.