Zack Stoner, the 30-year-old founder of ZackTV1, one of the most popular YouTube channels chronicling black cultural life in Chicago, was shot and killed while driving in the city’s South Loop neighborhood on Wednesday morning (May 30). According to WGN TV, the shooting took place around 1:30 a.m. when Stoner (frequently referred to as Zack TV) was shot in the head and neck before his Jeep drove up on a curb and crashed into a light pole; a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department confirmed the details of the shooting but had no additional information at press time.
Stoner was transported to Northwest Memorial Hospital where he later died of his wounds. WGN reported that police said a Chevy Caprice was also involved in the crash and witnesses reported a group of people jumped out of the Caprice and got into a third car that drove away from the scene. At press time, the Chicago PD spokesperson said no suspects were in custody and the investigation was ongoing. Video has emerged of the crash scene; the three people can be seen piling into the other car.
30 year old man dead in Printers Row shooting on Clark btwn Harrison & Polk. He was the driver of this silver Jeep that crashed into a light pole after he was shot in the head & neck. @WGNNews @WGNMorningNews pic.twitter.com/wzSuxBZxwV
— Courtney Gousman (@cgousman) May 30, 2018
Madeline I have a video of people yelling and fleeing the scene in a vehicle moments after the shooting pic.twitter.com/BAKhaD2AR4
— Aaron Dunlap — (@aarond) May 30, 2018
?ZackTV1 was known for its no-nonsense, raw street reporting on Chicago’s hip-hop community, with Stoner posting more than 1,700 videos on a channel that had amassed more than 170,000 subscribers since 2009.
“I wanted to show the world the other side of Chicago. Back when I was growing up, we had Common and Kanye West. Those are great brothers and great entertainers, but I didn’t think they represented Chicago the way that I’ve seen Chicago,” Stoner told the Chicago Defender in an April 16 interview in which Stone referred to his channel as a “Hood CNN” that shows “both sides” of issues. “I wanted to show the world what the other side of Chicago looks like…our culture––the way we dress, what we eat, how we talk, how we walk.”
The Defender wrote that Stoner “documents what others neglect and repeatedly interviews personalities who many had hoped would never grace a camera. His videos are not fluffy, glitzy, and sentimental documentary shorts; on the contrary, they are more like visceral punches to the gut that can leave you either inspired for change or disturbed by reality.”
Stoner was credited with giving some of the city’s most controversial artists their first on-camera exposure, including then-teenage drill music pioneer Chief Keef, while also posting clips that showed young men from rival gang sets flashing guns and threatening each other. ZackTV was also the place where one of Stoner’s mentors, Tony Woods, went in November when his for-profit community organization, Good Brothers, went to try and broker a peace treaty between two rival gangs in the Altgeld Gardens neighborhood. He often ended his videos with the question, “What can we do to resolve the violence in Chicago?”
Tributes poured in all morning on Twitter, with many praising Stoner for his work to shine a light on the people often overlooked by the mainstream media.
— Daishun Luckett (@DaishunL) May 30, 2018
I ain’t see nobody in Chicago take a kid off the street , treat him like family buy him kicks food all that Shit just to let lil homie know SOMEBODY OUT HERE CARE ABOUT YOU. @TheRealZacktv1 #ZackTv was a real dude for that and Chicago needed him real talk —
— Keyshon Santana (@ShonDouble0G) May 30, 2018
If it wasn’t for Zack, half these Chicago rappers now wouldn’t even be on the map —-?? RIP #zacktv
— Phase1BRose —— (@bw1426) May 30, 2018
R.I.P #Zacktv man. Shit makes no sense
— … (@KGSenpai) May 30, 2018
I really respected what #ZackTV was doing and I watched his interviews daily and his IG lives when he was educating us about some real shit —
— JohnGlockton (@ProdbyJbandz) May 30, 2018
Damn never thought this would happen to you — thank you for exposing me to the great talent and awesome,culture of your city my life got a lot more turnt cause of you — from the 100’s to the world zacktv4L #ZackTV — pic.twitter.com/DMTR72agBQ
— Hagan beyers —- (@iamwacko_demon) May 30, 2018
The most recent video posted on ZackTV1 was posted on Sunday (May 27), featuring Drake of Chiraq discussing the death of “Mubu Krump” and King Yella in a federal prison.