One Tennessee high school football player is being hailed a hero after he used his body to shield three girls from a hail of bullets on Friday. Unfortunately, the town is also in mourning as the young man fell victim to the gunshot wounds he sustained during the random shootings.
The life of Zaevion William Dobson, 15 was taken in a Knoxville shooting spree that officials say actually began on Thursday and came inn three separate spurts. The shots that took Zaevion’s life were random and in retaliation of an earlier shooting by an unknown source but the persons responsible for that shooting were identified and one was killed in a later shooting incident.
— Knoxville Police (@Knoxville_PD) December 18, 2015
Dobson was the only person in the group who was shot, the bullet that killed him struck him in the head. Faith Gordon and Kiara Rucker were two of the girls whose life Zaevion saved and they have expressed their gratefulness and sorrow. Dobson attended and played football at Tennessee’s Fulton High School. The school had counselors on hand to speak to students on Friday as the sophomore class experienced an emotional grief stricken response to Dobson’s death. A moment of silence for the slain student was also observed in the schools gym.
Washington Post quoted the Knoxville Mayor, Madeline Rogero statement to the press regarding Zaevion Dobson and how he was an outstanding young man.
“He was really one of our success stories. Involved in sports, a mentee of one of our organizations in town. But still he falls victim to this.”
The coach of the Fulton football team also described Dobson as a “fine, fine young man” and the assistant principal and the Fulton football team took to twitter to express their sorrow.
Hearts are broken here at FHS. Please keep our athletes, students and faculty in your prayers.We lost a fine young man.Proud he was a Falcon
— Jody Wright (@Fultonhoops) December 18, 2015
We want you to know that Zaevion was an outstanding young man who will always be remembered as a hero. pic.twitter.com/h7qlV1D9zO
— Fulton Football (@FultonFootball) December 18, 2015
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch reported that the police believe the shootings to have been gang related. The entire ordeal began when at about 7:18 on Thursday night Lisa Perry became the first victim as her house was shot up. The 46-year-old was home along with a 10-year-old child, who has not been identified, when shots were fired into her apartment. The child was not hurt but the shots hit Perry in the lower back and she was taken to the hospital for multiple gunshot wounds. They were non-life threatening injuries.
About three hours later, after Perry’s son, 23-year-old Brandon Perry learned that she had been shot, he and several other men went on a drive to a random Knoxville community, which happens to have been Zaevion Dobson’s and according to NBC News report, “randomly fired multiple times into a crowd.”
Zaevion was apparently on the porch along with his brother, the three girls, and several other friends. The thee girls that he shielded were unharmed. His older brother, Zack Dobson, is in shock.
“Why would you shoot at random bystanders for nothing? We were just sitting there chilling. I’m shocked. I’m really just shocked. I can’t believe it, can’t get it across my head. Zae, he was an awesome kid, awesome brother. Just know that I miss him. I miss my brother.”
The end of the shooting spree came when at approximately 2 a.m. that Friday night, Brandon Perry was shot as he was driving a BMW and crashed the car into an apartment building. After being taken to the hospital, Perry died from his injuries later Friday morning. There were two other men with Perry at the time of the crash and both were taken into custody. One man was later released while the other, Christopher D. Bassett, 20, was held for possession of a firearm – he is a convicted felon and has violated his parole and is being held without bail. The investigation is ongoing.
A vigil held for Zaevion Dobson brought out an enormous amount of persons in support of the hero.
If a picture's worth a thousand words—this one will show you how loved Zae Dobson was. Vigil for him brought 100+ pic.twitter.com/qqdzQRsK75
— Kelsey Leyrer (@WVLTKelsey) December 19, 2015
[Photo Courtesy of Knoxville Police Department]