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Man featured in CNN's 'Chicagoland' series injured in drive-by shooting

By Leslie Tripp Holland, CNN
updated 3:57 PM EDT, Sun August 3, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lee McCollum Jr. was injured in a drive-by shooting on Saturday and is recovering
  • The former gang member became a student leader at his southside Chicago high school
  • McCollum's goal is to attend college and get out of Chicago

(CNN) -- A young man featured in the CNN series "Chicagoland" was shot this weekend on the streets of southside Chicago. Police have not released the victim's name, but friends close to him confirm it was Lee McCollum Jr.

McCollum was shot twice in the leg on Saturday morning and was treated and released from a local hospital, according to his mentor and high school principal, Liz Dozier, who was also featured on the "Chicagoland" series.

As told in "Chicagoland," McCollum's story is one of a young man who grew up in a tough part of the city but was transforming his life. He went from being a gang member to high school prom king and student leader.

McCollum has aspirations to leave Chicago and attend college, Dozier said. "The goal is still to get him to go. There's nothing for him here in Chicago."

According to the police report, the shooting happened about 7 a.m. Saturday. The 20-year-old man was standing outside when shots were fired from a white vehicle that passed by. Police are investigating and no one is in custody.

Dozier said though McCollum is not in a gang now, that doesn't mean he was a random victim. The police report states the shooting may have been gang-related.

The executive producers and directors of the series said this is part of the reality that many young people in Chicago live every day.

"Lee Jr. and other kids are growing up in a culture of hopelessness and despair, where there is a seemingly endless supply of guns," said Mark Levin, co-director of "Chicagoland."

"It's very disheartening to hear that Lee Jr. was shot. I'm relieved to hear he's out of the hospital and recovering," he said.

"This is just what Principal Dozier and others fear -- you stick around in a war zone and you get hurt."

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