LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — Family members of a Clairemont man are in search of answers, after an evening drive in the East County ended with three shotgun blasts.
"It's been emotional for me and everyone, because he's so loved by everybody. I can't think straight. My brother is my best friend," said Teissa Barling, choking back tears.
Teissa dropped off her brother Nathan late Sunday afternoon at a friend's house in Santee. He would spend that night helping another friend — a restaurant owner — move some kitchen equipment, before one last load just before midnight.
Nathan was in the back of the pickup truck. Two of his friends were in the front. According to deputies, the truck was near I-8, going south on Los Coches Road, when a white SUV pulled alongside. Teissa pieced together the details from friends who spoke to the other men inside the truck.
"I was told the car came speeding up to them like they were chasing them, and that's when he began shooting," said Teissa Barling.
Deputies say the SUV driver fired three shotgun blasts, before taking off. The shots shattered the glass in a back window, striking Nathan.
"The pellets sprayed down his face and hit him in the eyes. He has bullets left in his brain that they couldn't take out," she said.
It's not clear if the sedated Nathan has suffered brain damage, but the 23-year-old mechanic has suffered blindness, which may be permanent.
"It's scary and he has a long road ahead of him, and I still want to know why this happened and who did it.
The clues are few. Teissa says the group had not had any issues with anybody that night. She's now hoping new witnesses will come forward.
"I want justice for my brother. I want to find who did this so it doesn't happen to anyone else," said Teissa.
Deputies say the white SUV was described as a Ford Explorer or Expedition. If you have any information on the case, call Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help with Nathan's expenses.