Knoxville teen injured in gang shooting knows there's no simple solution to violence

April 4, 2017: A 15-year-old was shot in the shoulder while visiting friends when a gunfight unfolded outside the house. He's now recovering after being shot in the shoulder.

It's been more than a week since gunfire shattered a quiet evening in the Lonsdale neighborhood of North Knoxville. Four people were injured and one man was killed in what Knoxville police say was a shootout between gang members.

No arrests have been made in the shooting.

One of the survivors explains why it's going to take a lot to put an end to this problem.

15-year-old Xavier Shell was visiting friends and watching videos online when a real life gun fight unfolded outside. As they heard shots, everyone inside the home ran upstairs. That's when Xavier was hit.

"I looked at my shirt and I could see the bullet hole. It was in me right here and I could see the blood coming out on the floor,” said Shell, pointing to his injured shoulder.

Paramedics took him to UT Medical Center.

"When I got into the ambulance, I prayed. When I got to the hospital, I prayed. When I got to the hospital, it was like a relief because I knew I was going to make it,” said Shell, recalling that night.

He's thankful, but knows there's work ahead. Weeks of recovery to heal his shoulder and a broken rib. Surgery isn't an option to help because of a bullet fragment doctors can't safely remove.

"It’s too close to my heart and if they take it out I might die,” explained Shell.

On Monday, Knoxville leaders celebrated the ground breaking of the Change Center. The building is a place aiming to prevent violence like the shooting that injured Xavier, but in Lonsdale teens are unsure of the impact it will have.

"You can build centers for kids to be safe but that's not going to change the shooter's mind,” explained Shell.

"A lot of kids who grow up in broken homes don't have a ride to get there,” said 16-year-old Bacchus Smith.

More than a week after he was shot through a window of his friend's home, no arrests have been made in the shooting that injured Shell.

But Shell isn't worried about justice, he's just thankful he's still here.

"It doesn't make me mad. I’m just glad to be alive and that it didn't kill me, just thanking God for that,” he said.

Xavier is currently in 10th grade at Career Magnet Academy and hopes to study advanced manufacturing at UT.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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