Chicago Boy Who Made Anti-Gun Violence PSA Last Year Has Just Been Shot

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This is the worst.

A 13-year-old in Chicago has been shot in the back and critically wounded, the victim of a stray bullet during a shootout — but even worse is just a year ago, he was part of an award-winning anti-gun violence video.

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Zarriel Trotter was hit with the stray bullet after two groups of young people got into a fight and pulled out a gun, according to authorities.

According to Jose Estrada of the Chicago Police Department, Zarriel — who friends know as Zari — was an innocent bystander in the crime:

“He was not the intended target. He was standing on the sidewalk.”

No one else was injured, and thus far, no one has been arrested.

The 13-year-old had been a part of the award-winning video last year that was used to highlight how gun violence was affecting black families in Chicago.

You can see Zari at the 0:28 mark (below):

Zari’s words in the video:

“I don’t want to live around my community where I got to keep on hearing and hearing people keep on getting shot, people keep on getting killed.”


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Elizabeth Jamison-Dunn, the principal of Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School, where Zari was a student, was distraught over the shooting and notes that the boy had been recovering in the hospital and thus far hasn’t been able to speak:

“It is disheartening. Every morning he greets me with a big smile on his face, which makes my day.”

And, Burrell Communications Group — the company that produced the video in which Zari appeared last year, offered their condolences on their Facebook page:

“Our hearts go out to Zarriel and his family. We wish him a speedy recovery.”

While we hope and pray that he recovers, his community may not be so lucky.

According to Officer Estrada, Zari’s neighborhood has seen 46 shootings in 2016 — which is up from 19 to this point last year, and 18 during the same period in 2014:

“There has been a substantial increase. Unfortunately, when you see crime, there are so many factors. It would be impossible to narrow it down.”


For now, our thoughts are with Zari and his family during this unimaginably scary time.

[Image via YouTube.]

Mar 28, 2016 6:25pm PDT

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