A 13-year-old Chicago boy who appeared last year in an award-winning anti-violence campaign is fighting for his life after being hit by a stray bullet as he was walking home over the weekend, according to reports.
Zarriel Trotter was on his way home after playing basketball with his friends when he was shot in the lower back around 8:30 p.m. Friday in South Austin, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Two groups had been fighting down the street from Trotter and someone began shooting, hitting the seventh-grader near his spine. He was not the intended target, authorities said.
Trotter was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he underwent surgery and was sedated as he fought for his life, the Tribune wrote.
It was only a year ago that the teen lamented in a public service announcement the violent conditions with which he and his friends had to live through.
“I don’t want to live around in my community where I got to keep on hearing and hearing people keep on getting shot, people keep on getting killed,” Trotter, who is known by friend and family as Zari, said in the video titled “Black is Human.”
The minute-long video, posted to YouTube, states that the leading cause of death for black boys and teens is homicide, citing 2013 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The loss of a black boy is a loss for America,” the video says.
Trotter was one of several boys who were interviewed as part of an anti-violence campaign, Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School Principal Elizabeth Jamison-Dunn told the Tribune.
Trotter has been involved for the last two years with the school’s male empowerment mentoring program, which includes meetings with influential men in the community, she said.
“Every morning he greets me with a big smile on his face, which makes my day,” Jamison-Dunn told the paper, saying that he walks his younger brother, a third-grader, to school every day. “I feel horrible that this happened to him.”