The final act of a 15-year-old football player from Knoxville, Tennessee, is being celebrated by grieving classmates, called heroic by President Obama, and etched forever in the memories of three teenage girls, whose lives he saved by jumping on top of them to shield them from gunfire sent in their direction by two men, the New York Times reports.
Zaevion Dobson died saving three friends from getting shot. He was a hero at 15. What's our excuse for not acting? https://t.co/hn98uGsjKZ
— President Obama (@POTUS) December 20, 2015
Zaevion Dobson was a student at Fulton High School in the city and a football player there. His brother was also on the team.
RIP Zaevion William Dobson my baby brother 😩😩😩😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/V82NWTaGH8
— Zack Dobson (@stn__zack) December 18, 2015
A GoFundMe account has been established for Zaevion’s family, and more than $60,000 had been donated as of our publication time.
Although none of the girls was injured, the GoFundMe page says, Zaevion was killed from a bullet he took in his head on a porch in Knoxville Thursday night, December 17, stretching into Friday morning.
The gunfire was reported to have originated as crossfire between rival gangs. Zaevion was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time after a basketball game at his school, according to Darrell DeBusk, a public information officer with the Knoxville Police Department.
The alleged shooter, identified as Brandon Perry, 23, was killed at about 2 AM Friday after being shot himself and crashing his car into an apartment building. Mr Perry’s mother had been shot earlier that evening, and a 10-year-old boy was also injured from gunfire in the house where Mr Perry lived.
“Most likely the person who shot Perry’s house originally is the one who found him and shot and killed him,” Mr DeBusk said on Monday.
A second man was charged with being in possession of a firearm in violation of his parole in connection with the shooting that killed Zaevion.
“These senseless acts of violence must stop,” the Times quoted an emotional David Rausch, chief of the Knoxville Police Department, as saying. “We really do plead with our community to step up and to stop these acts.”