LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — Sean 'Jerrion Coleman says his first mistake was not listening to his gut.
Talked into attending a house party near Torrey Pines and Vegas, March 16th, 2019.
Coleman was just 17 years old.
He ended up in the hospital that night. Shot in the face.
“There was just a ringing in my ears and my face was really hot, but the reason I knew I was shot I saw the flash of the gun,” says Coleman.
Miraculously Coleman survived.
Today a small scar by his nose and another on the back of his head are the only physical reminders.
He admits back in 2019 he was spiraling into a dark place after losing a close friend to gun violence just two months earlier.
That wasn’t his last friend to die.
“I think I've had 40-plus friends get killed with gun violence,” says Coleman.
Now, at 21-years-old, Coleman is giving back.
Acting as a youth advocate of Congressman Steven Horsford’s Break the Cycle of Violence bill.
Even helping Metro police spread the word about non-violence on Twitter.
He knows it can be a tough sell.
“If you see someone about to commit an act that you know is going to get someone hurt talk to them,” says Coleman. “I know people say oh talk to someone that's overrated. But no, your words have power.”
Coleman’s message is more important than ever following several recent shootings involving young people in the valley.
Including 18-year-old Jessie Rios, facing felony charges after a security monitor at Von Tobel Middle School was shot by a stray bullet May 8th.
The next day two kids ages 12 and 14 were injured in a drive by shooting while playing in a neighborhood near Durango and Elkhorn.
17-year-old Hakeem Collett is charged as an adult for that crime.
“Social media has made it so hard for people to want to fight now because if you get beat up it's going to be all over the internet for the next two or three years,” explains Coleman. “So, people would rather just shoot.”
According to the latest statistics from Metro police, the number of overall shooting victims in their jurisdiction is down 1.6% compared to the same time last year.
But five area commands are reporting a jump.
Including Bolden Area Command, up 75%.
Enterprise, Northeast, Summerlin, and Spring Valley are also trending up.
“I hope a lot of youth don't have to go through something like I went through to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak,” says Coleman. “I hope you don't have to see the light, to see the light.”
Four years later no one has been arrested for Coleman’s shooting.
But he does have a souvenir, the bullet that could’ve cost him his life.
His next project: start a non-profit to help other victims of gun violence.
“A lot of people say, oh I wish I could go back and change this and that,” he says. “But I always say I don't want to change anything because it's what made me here today.”