An Arleta man and his sister are happy to be alive after another driver shot at their vehicle eight times on southbound Highway 14 in the Acton area Tuesday night.
Harry Nalbandyan believes his truck was targeted because he was flying Armenian flags on the back to commemorate Tuesday’s 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Europe, he told CBS Los Angeles television reporter Jasmine Viel outside his home Wednesday morning.
Bullets shattered the truck’s windows and one bullet grazed his neck and shoulder, as shards of glass from the shattered windows struck his sister Christina in the face, resulting in minor bleeding for both victims, Nalbandyan said.
Still at large as of noon Wednesday, the suspect was reportedly driving a silver Honda CRV, vintage 2006-2010, with tinted windows, and was described as in his 20s or 30s and having dark, curly hair.
“It is shocking that I’m alive,” Nalbandyan told Viel. “I can’t believe that I had eight shots fired at me and my sister. It was crazy. This maniac just came out of nowhere and started firing like he didn’t care about his life — just swerving in the lanes. He was just like a monster. He didn’t care about anything.”
Nalbandyan and his sister had left a birthday party for an uncle and were southbound on Highway 14 between Crown Valley Road and Sand Canyon Road when the shooting occurred.
“We were at Crown Valley, maybe five minutes from Santa Clarita. … And this guy comes and cuts me off,” Nalbandyan said. “I just change my lane just to keep on going, just to pass him, but then this guy comes up next to me, rolls down his window, and I roll down my window just to see who he is. This guy just looks into my eyes and pulls out a gun and starts shooting. Eight times. I was worried about my sister — the bullets were just flying across our face.
“I told my sister, ‘duck down,’ and she ducked down all the way,” he said. “I hit the brakes all the way and just let this guy get a lead, keep on going. And then I let other cars come by … So that’s how I got away from him. But after I hit the brakes, he was still firing. He didn’t care.”
Nalbandyan said he believed he was shot at because of the Armenian flags on his truck.
“There’s a lot of people who are hating on this, and we’re just going out and representing Armenia,” he said. “We’re never going to stop. We’re just going to keep on representing and showing people that they have to start caring, too. It’s not a joke.”
“The brother and sister went to their house and then called 911,” Officer Josh Greengard of the California Highway Patrol’s Newhall office said Wednesday about 12:10 p.m.
“We responded later, went to the scene, tried to pick up the pieces,” he said. “Our investigation team is out there right now, putting the pieces together.”