Fulton High School football player from Tennessee was killed Thursday by gunfire during a night of violence in Knoxville while shielding three girls.
Zaevion Willian Dobson, the three girls and a group of about a dozen people were walking home when the firing incidence took place.
The 15-year-old player jumped on top of the three girls when the firing started to shield them from the bullets that killed him.
According to Knoxville Police Department, three males having possible ties to a gang are believed to have fired into a crowd of students who were preparing to celebrate the holidays.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said Dobson was a success story as he was not only involved in sports, but he was a mentor too through the chapter of 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville that helps in empowering the African American and other minority youth.
Briefing to the media people at a press conference on Friday morning the Mayor added, she hopes everyone will pray for the family members and friends who have been impacted and also recommit to work with the kids as well as the community to ensure they live safe and healthy lives.
About a dozen people were in the area, 2700 block of Badgett Drive, during the shooting that began at 10:12 p.m., but no one got injured, said Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch while briefing the press with choked back tears on Friday.
Knoxville Police Department spokesman Darrell DeBusk said one of the shooters died himself about 6 a.m. Friday from sustained gunshot wounds.
It is said the 23-year-old Brandon Perry died at the University of Tennessee Medical center. He was brought there at 2 a.m. after hitting a black BMW through the brick wall of an apartment 1201 at Green Hills Apartments on Natchez Street. No one in the apartment was injured. Emergency workers rescued the trapped elderly resident who was asleep during the slamming.
It was a night of violence and it is assumed the people on other vehicles were also shooting to the group of three in BMW, said Rausch.
The chief added Perry was shot ahead of the crash into the apartment wall and two of his companions jumped out of the car immediately and fled, but were caught quickly by police. After questioning by investigating officer one was released. No firearms were recovered from them. The second man may be charged and investigators are working with the District Attorney General’s Office.
Rogers said, “Everybody’s talking about terrorism. We’re facing it in our own community… We’re sending aid over to other countries. Stop it right here. Kids are killing kids. It’s ridiculous.”
Everyone is expected to wear Fulton school colors of gray and maroon to the funeral of the football player.
Dobson’s mother said, “Just to support my baby, ’cause he was a true Falcon… Number 24, baby. High in the sky, 24. Angel wings.”