Former convicted murderer works to deter students from gun violence

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - You've seen the commercials and billboards for the Fed Up campaign targeting gun violence for almost a year now.

Tuesday, that message was taken directly to Memphis' Mitchell High School.

Jerald Trotter, the face of the campaign, said he learned the message he now delivers the hard way.

"This is an old message," Trotter said. "I am not the first to bring it but I do take joy in letting these kids know what could happen to them if they make the same mistakes I did."

On November 12, 2000, Trotter shot and killed a man after watching a football game at a sports bar.

Trotter told the students his emotions ran high that night and a split-second decision forever changed his life.

He served the maximum punishment for his crime of 12 years and nine months.

"I just want to go and let these kids know they do not need to make the same mistake," Trotter said. "That they can stop themselves before they do something stupid that would ruin their lives."

A study conducted last summer by the University of Memphis revealed that between 2014 and 2016, almost 60 percent of those arrested in Memphis for all major violent crimes involving guns were 24 years of age or younger.

The study showed 16.2 percent of violent gun crime arrests were 17 or younger and 43.2 percent were between the age of 18 and 24.

Since the Fed Up campaign started last summer, Memphis musician Marco Pave has joined Trotter at now three schools, taking their message directly to students with hopes it leads kids away from becoming the next statistic.

"It's bigger than this event," Pave said. "We must constantly work with the students, constantly be involved in the kids' lives for that not to happen. We are all just a movement away from living a life of crime."

The Fed Up campaign is promoted by the Shelby County Crime Commission and the City of Memphis.

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