13-year-old shot by stray bullet on West Side, police say

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A 13-year-old boy was in critical condition early Saturday after he was shot by a stray bullet in the city's Austin neighborhood, police said. (WLS)

A 13-year-old boy was shot by a stray bullet in the city's Austin neighborhood Friday night, police said.

Zarriel Trotter was shot in the lower back and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital. He was not the intended target, police said. His condition was upgraded from critical to stable after undergoing surgery Saturday morning.

Police said two groups were have a dispute down the street from where the boy was standing when shots were fired. Neighbors said they heard shots and then saw dozens of kids running away from the scene.

Trotter recently spoke out against the exact kind of violence he's a victim of in a 2015 PSA called "Black is Human."

"I don't want to live in my community and keep on hearing of people getting shot and people getting killed," he said in the ad.

Trotter was involved in multiple activities and programs as a seventh grader at his West Side charter school.

"Every morning when he comes in with his younger brother he always has a big smile on his face," says his principal Elizabeth Jamison-Dunn. "Just ready for the day. He's a participant in the Man Mentor a Man Program, which is an empowerment organization for the middle school boys of our school."

The shooting occurred in the 5500-block of West Jackson Boulevard just before 8:30 p.m. It was a neighbor who found Trotter after the shooting and called 911.

"We couldn't tell that he was shot, but we knew he was in obvious pain," said Terran Thomas, neighbor.

For those who live in the South Austin community, so often plagued by gun violence, news of yet another innocent shot is infuriating.

"That's the thing I'm so tired of hearing," said a resident named Shirley. "And most of the time we say, all we can do is pray."

Police are investigating and have no one in custody.

"Why? You know, it's a nice community, there's a lot of older people over here, we don't usually have this type of violence over here, especially with the young ones," said Lisa Nixon, neighbor.
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