Over four years ago, Brian Collins marched alongside thousands of protesters demanding an end to gun violence at the March for Our Lives. The protest, sparked by teenagers who’d survived the deadly Parkland shooting, was supposed to be a wake-up call.
But, just a few short years later, Collins was shot in the hands and the jaw by a gunman who’d burst into the 15-year-old’s health class at the Central Visual and Performing Arts High School in south St. Louis, Missouri.
The gunman fatally shot Collins’ teacher, Jean Kuckzka who, according to St. Louis Post-Dispatch, bravely stood in between the shooter and her students. And another student, 15-year-old Alexandria Bell, was also killed by the gunman.
Five students, including Collins, were injured in the shooting on Monday.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Collins escaped by jumping out of a window and scaling a fence. Despite several gun shot wounds, he was released to his family on Tuesday.
Stories of Black survivors of gun violence like Collins often don’t make it into the news when we’re discussing issues like gun control.
But on an average day, thirty Black Americans are killed by guns in the United States, according to Everytown For Gun Safety. Black Americans are also three times as likely as white Americans to be shot and killed by police, according to the same report.
Back in his St. Louis home, Collins is safely recovering, according to his aunt, Stephanie Malia Krauss, who created a go-fund me to cover her nephew’s medical bill.
Although she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she worries about his ability to return to drawing, the reason he’d started at Central. “He has both arms in splints from the fingers all the way up past the elbow,” she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “There’s no way of knowing the extent of the injuries until follow-up appointments and the swelling goes down. We’re not going to know for a couple of weeks.”
For now, Krauss asks that everyone pray for Collins’ full recovery.