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Grace: Who shot R.J.? The story of a 13-year-old boy who got caught in the middle of a 'gang battle'

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R.J. on stairs (web)

R.J. Eckhardt, 13, was mistakenly targeted and shot in the arm on March 29. R.J., his father, Renard Estima, and another boy were followed by a group of five teens after leaving a basketball game at Benson High School.

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Jaqueris Allen (web)

Jaqueris Allen

Jaquez Turley (web)

Jaquez Turley

J’Tavion Smith (web)

J’Tavion Smith

Kheana Noutoua (web)

Kheana Noutoua

Neighborhood homicides map
R.J. against wall (web)

R.J. left behind so much blood that relatives later said the inside of the home on Spaulding Street looked like a murder scene.

Janna Eckhardt (web)

“He wasn’t even crying,” Janna Eckhardt said. “I was crying.”

R.J. points to scar (web)

R.J. Eckhardt points to his small bullet scar.

R.J. hunting (web)

Within a month of being hospitalized, R.J. was back on a bike, back playing first base for Keystone Little League, and back hunting with Grandpa. He bagged a turkey.

R.J. closeup (web)

Even though R.J.’s injury was not life-threatening, the shooting carries a financial cost.

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Metro columnist

Columnist Erin Grace has covered a variety of beats since she started at The World-Herald in 1998 — from education to City Hall and from the city's western suburbs to its inner-city neighborhoods. Follow her on Twitter @ErinGraceOWH. Phone: 402-444-1136.

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