Recent shootings throughout the country have involved victims who had simply made innocent mistakes. A homeowner in Kansas City, Mo., shot a 16-year-old who rang the doorbell of a house where he mistakenly thought his siblings were. Two teenage cheerleaders in Austin, Texas, were shot after one mistakenly got into the wrong car, thinking it was hers.
These shootings have left an Atlanta family reliving the trauma of losing their teenage son in a similar situation.
"A needless and senseless act of violence"
In March 2019, 19-year-old Omarian Banks took a Lyft to his girlfriend's apartment complex after working his normal shift at McDonald's. At about 12:30 a.m., he mistakenly knocked on the wrong door. The resident came out onto the balcony and began shooting, despite Omarian's attempts to apologize for his mistake. Sadly, Omarian died at the scene.
Darryl I. Bynes, 32, is set to go on trial for the murder of Omarian later this summer.
The family of Omarian Banks hopes there will be justice, but a conviction will not change the fact that he is gone, said Attorney George S. Johnson, who is representing them.
Attorney Johnson has brought a civil claim on behalf of Omarian's parents against the owner and property manager of the apartment complex where Omarian was killed. Among the claims being litigated are whether the complex had adequate security and whether the owner and property manager of the apartment complex properly vetted Bynes' application to be a tenant there.
"Omarian had dreams and plans for his future," said Attorney Johnson, counsel for civil litigation being brought by Omarian's family against the apartment complex where he was killed. "He hoped to work as a plumber and electrician with his father and brother. He was not a threat to anyone. He was a fine young man with a bright future. Yet his life was taken away in a needless and senseless act of violence."
Negligent security puts people at risk
In 2022, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the results of an examination of more than 1,000 apartment complexes in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, and Clayton counties in a series titled "Dangerous Dwellings. Unsafe. Unhealthy. Unlivable." It found that inadequate security measures were a major factor that endangered the residents of these complexes.
Spending on security measures at these complexes was limited, reporters discovered. Security gates were left open, broken doors weren't repaired, and surveillance cameras weren't installed. Some existing cameras did not function well. Residents stated that private security patrols were ineffective – or nonexistent.
The complexes had been the site of hundreds of violent crimes, including shootings, homicides, and rapes, reporters found.
A family that deserves justice
"Owners and property managers have a responsibility to take steps that help keep their premises safe for residents," Attorney Johnson said.
There have also been other shootings involving similar innocent mistakes, and for the family of Omarian Banks, each one brings out the pain of their loss all over again.
"When are they going to learn?" Lisa Johnson-Banks, Omarian's mother, told The New York Times. "I know people have a right to protect their dwellings. But take a minute. Because that's somebody else's child you're going to take out."