‘Blessed and lucky’: UGA club lacrosse player recovers quickly after Athens shooting

Less than a month after being shot three times during an attempted robbery in Athens, Tate Prezzano walked into a bond hearing Wednesday for the man accused of shooting him, Channel 2 Action News reported.

Dobbin Prezzano calls it incredible. 

“We’re blessed and lucky to be in a situation here with Tate,” his father told Channel 2. “Where he was in the hospital just three weeks ago Monday with three gunshot wounds, and he walked out of the hospital a few days later.” 

The blazer-clad University of Georgia student sat alongside his family in an Athens courtroom, just over two weeks after being discharged from an Athens hospital. 

RELATED: UGA lacrosse player shot during robbery discharged from hospital

The 22-year-old is part of UGA’s club lacrosse team and played lacrosse and football at Cambridge High School in Milton. 

On April 22, as the junior communications major was waiting at an Athens bus stop, a man approached him, robbed him and shot him multiple times in the upper part of his body.

“Few incidents are more concerning than a young man standing at the bus stop, waiting to go to college, that is accosted by an armed assailant, robbed and shot,” Athens-Clarke County police Chief Cleveland Spruill said in a news conference soon after the shooting. 

Tate Prezzano was waiting at an Athens bus stop when a man approached him, robbed him and shot him multiple times in the upper part of his body.
Photo: Channel 2 Action News

A second UGA student was also robbed at gunpoint near the bus stop, which is just south of campus and the Athens Perimeter. That student was not hurt in the incident, which occurred moments before Prezzano was shot.

That student was able to give police a description used to create a sketch of the suspect. The sketch depicted the suspect with medium-length braids or dreads.

RELATED: UGA victim ID’d as lacrosse player; police release sketch of alleged shooter

Not long after the sketch was released, GBI Special Agent Mike Ayers said tips started pouring in from community members.

Zarren Garner
Photo: Athens-Clarke County Police Department

Zarren Garner, 20, of Grayson, was arrested in Gwinnett County the next morning, authorities said. Spruill said they were able to identify Garner through a number of citizen tips and because of the man’s prior “low-level criminal background.” 

Investigators believe Garner cut his braids off in order to hide from police. 

MORE: Gwinnett man arrested in shooting of UGA lacrosse player from metro Atlanta

“They contacted us, they put us in the right direction, and they gave us the push forward to be able to develop a suspect and to be able to make an arrest in this case,” he said. “It is a prime example of what happens when people work collectively as a team. And that’s what we’ve had great success with in this investigation.”

Garner is charged with two counts each of aggravated assault and armed robbery. In a hearing Wednesday, he withdrew a request for bond and remains in the Athens jail, Channel 2 reported.

Prezzano was discharged from the hospital April 28.

“Our gratitude for the prayers and support from family, friends, medical teams, law enforcement, and so many we don't even know is indescribable,” Dobbin Prezzano said soon after the incident.

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