ATHENS, Ga. — A University of Georgia student who was shot during a suspected robbery Monday morning is expected to recover, and his community is rallying around him with prayers in order to see that happen.
Police said the 22-year-old student was waiting at the bus stop around 7:30 a.m., at an apartment complex off Milledge Avenue when he was approached by a suspect, then shot multiple times in what police believe was an armed robbery.
The bus stop is not far from the the UGA club sports complex, where Tate Prezzano is usually practicing with the lacrosse team. That's where 11Alive's Hope Ford spoke to UGA Lacrosse head coach Billy O'Haire, who identified the 22-year-old as the student shot by the suspect.
O'Haire told 11Alive he has been in touch with Prezzano's family, who said the student is "doing well" and expected to make a full recovery.
“His mom and dad talked to the doctor, and he’s in good spirits,” O'Haire said.
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O'Haire described Prezzano, a junior year defensiveman on the team, as an "amazing player" who always showed up first and was always the last to leave lacrosse practice.
"(He is) loved by his teammates, his friends and family. One of the players kids would love to run up and ask for autographs,” O'Haire described.
Prezzano was missed at practice Monday by his teammates, whom O'Haire said were battling mixed emotions over the violent attack.
“He was one of the last people we thought this would happen to,” the coach said. But he added they're all grateful that Prezzano is still alive, putting into perspective what is really important.
"There’s a reason why he’s still alive and with us, and at the end of the day lacrosse is just a game," O'Haire said.
Online, Prezzano's former high school, Cambridge High School in Milton, asked their community to pray for the 2015 graduate and his family.
The Fulton County School District also released a statement, saying they were concerned by the "alarming incident."
"We express our sympathy to his family and the community," the district said.
According to his bio, Prezzano is studying communications at UGA.
Meanwhile, police are still searching for the suspect, who they describe as a black male with a medium complexion and either locs or twists in his hair. He was driving an early white 2000 model Ford Mustang convertible with a tan roof.
If anyone has information on the suspect, they're asked to call Athens-Clarke County Police.