Zarriel Trotter was part of an anti-violence video that has won awards for its frank discussion about the effect of violence on the lives of young people. Now he is recovering in the hospital after being shot in the back by a stray bullet.
The 13-year-old boy was shot on Friday while walking home in Chicago’s South Austin neighborhood, when an argument erupted between two groups of people and a male suspect pulled out a gun. Police say Zarriel was not the intended target. The bullet just missed his spine.
Zarriel can be seen in the video “Black is Human,” which featured the voices of third- through seventh-grade African-American boys speaking out about violence and homicides. The ad had just won an Advocacy Media Award from the American Advertising Federation earlier this month in Washington, D.C.
“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,” Zarriel said in the video.
Burrell Communications, which created the video, posted to its Facebook page after the shooting.
“Our hearts go out to Zarriel and his family,” the company said. “We wish him a speedy recovery.”
Zarriel’s principal told CBS2 Chicago that he is a good student who is involved in extracurriculars and mentoring.
“Zarriel makes my day every day,” said Elizabeth Jamison-Dunn of Catalyst Circle Rock Charter School. “I greet all the students first thing in the morning and every day he gives me a big smile.”
“He is a valued member of our school community,” she said. “We love him. He’s our child. We want him to get better.”