ARLETA (CBSLA) — A 19-year-old man and his sister who were shot at while driving on the 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita says he believes he was targeted for the flag he had draped on his truck to mark the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Harry Nalbandyan says he and his sister were on their way home from an uncle’s birthday party at about 11:30 p.m. when he noticed someone swerving near him as they drove south on the 14 Freeway, near Crown Valley Parkway.
The silver Honda CRV came up behind Nalbandyan and his sister, flashing its headlights, when it pulled up next to him. The driver of the Honda rolled down his window and started shooting, firing off at least eight shots, Nalbandyan said.
The shaken teen says he believes the shooter targeted his truck for the Armenian flag he had draped on the back of his truck to mark the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
“We’re lucky we’re alive,” he said.
Nalbandyan was not struck by any bullets, but was hit in the shoulder and grazed in the neck by glass and debris. His truck was left with shattered windows and 45-caliber rounds lodged into the seat and head rest.
His 17-year-old sister, Christina, was also hit by flying glass. She said she happened to be reclined in the passenger seat when the shots rang out.
“The bullet literally flew right over here, and out there, and my window crack has a cross on it,” Christina said. “If I’d been up, the bullet would have totally went through my head.”
Nalbandyan said he hit the brakes, and the shooter sped off.
“He was yelling, ‘are you alive,’ because I was quiet, I was scared, I didn’t know what to do,” Christina said. “He’s yelling, ‘are you alive, are you OK, talk to me.'”
The driver was described as possibly a man in his 20s to 30s with short, curly hair. The suspect vehicle was a silver Honda CRV with tinted windows last seen driving near the Crown Valley exit of the 14 Freeway in Santa Clarita.