Baltimore rapper and anti-violence organizer Tyree Colion was stabbed last night and he Facebook Live'd the aftermath.
In a harrowing and inspiring video, Colion, with blood leaking out of his neck, gasping for air, holds his phone out and talks to the camera, to those around him trying to help, and seemingly, the entire city.
"I'm losing too much blood," he says, shuffling toward the street. "I'm losing too much blood. Put pressure on it."
And then Colion, tilts his phone toward his face, selfie-style, looks into the lens and declares, proudly, "Yo if I die, it's all good, keep pushing them zones."
A woman putting pressure to the wound implores, "No, it's not good."
When Colion, who is expected to make a recovery, says "zones," he's referring to the "No Shoot Zone" campaign he has worked on over the years. Throughout the city, there are tags which read "No Shoot Zone," and Colion does interventionist work along with anti-violence events and concerts.
Colion, maybe best known for the track 'Projects,' which made it onto 2008's "And All the Pieces Matter - Five Years of Music from 'The Wire'" and "Beyond Hamsterdam," spent 11 years in prison for a murder he committed at the age of 15. He then spent six more years, from 2006 to 2012, for a parole violation. He marked his return from prison in 2012 with a duo of mixtapes titled "Back For Good."
"Worst feelin' in the world, eventually," he told Al Shipley in a 2012 CP profile, recounting shooting a rival dealer that had robbed his crew. "At the time, it's like an adrenaline rush. He was an older guy, he did something to us. I felt no remorse. But then I started thinkin' about it while I was locked up, like damn, somebody's gone. I'm still here."
He also told Shipley he hoped his story would be a cautionary one—"The biggest thing I'm 'bout now is the kids, to show 'em, like, 'Look, I did 16 years altogether. Prison is not cool, seriously,'"—and has spent the the past few years organizing against violence.
Colion was a key figure in organizing events tied to memorializing slain Baltimore rapper Lor Scoota last year. The day after Scoota's shooting, Colion and others gathered at Penn North to join hands and speak out against gun violence for a Unity Rally.
"It's about us killing us," Colion said, pacing around the group of 30 or so.
And a few evenings later, when a spontaneous gathering in Scoota's honor was met with aggressive police in riot gear, Colion was a key figure in making sure it didn't get too out of hand.
"What we're doing here is we're trying to stop things from happening that could possibly happen what happened with Freddie," he told CP Baynard Woods that evening. "It's not about the cameras here. It's not about the rappers here, they're hurting."
Colion negotiated with police on behalf of the youth in mourning, getting the streets cleared of kids and also, he said, trying to get the police to stand down, though they wouldn't.
"I ain't down here for no reason," he said. "I just came from 92Q to help my people in one of my old neighborhoods for one of my little brothers. So what they do from here you gonna see is the design of what they intended to do anyway because we did exactly what they asked us."
In an afternoon press conference, the Baltimore Police Department announced that Colion was at a local hospital and listed in critical but stable condition. Police spokesman T.J. Smith said the stabbing, which occurred about 11:30 p.m. last night in the 1700 block of E. 29th St., was "a domestic-related incident" tied to a dispute.
Detectives have identified a relative they believe is responsible, but that person has not formally been charged. Smith revealed that Colion is a Safe Streets activist but said "that had nothing to do with this situation."
Additional reporting by Brandon Weigel