High school football player Zaevion Dobson, 15, was killed Thursday in Tennessee while shielding three young women from gunfire during a "senseless act of violence," police said.
Dobson was sitting on a porch with his brother and a few friends in Knoxville when several men began randomly firing, a visibly emotional Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said in a press conference Friday.
In the process of flinging his body over three girls to protect them from the gun fire, Dobson was shot and killed. He was the only one hit, police said.
"Why would you shoot at random bystanders for nothing?" Dobson's brother Zack Dobson told USA Today.
"He was really one of our success stories," Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said at the press conference. "Involved in sports, a mentee of one of our organizations in town. But still he falls victim to this."
"It was good to know he was willing to protect others," Jaylin Posey, a friend of Dobson's, told CNN. "But it was sad he had to give his life for it."
According to Rausch, the shooting that caused Dobson's death was connected to two others that took place on Thursday night, one of which landed Lisa Perry, 46, in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Police said Perry's son, Brandon Perry, 23, was one of the shooters involved. After Lisa Perry was shot in her household, Rausch said, Brandon and several other men drove through Dobson's neighborhood, randomly shooting.
Brandon Perry died of gunshot wounds Friday morning after crashing a car into another apartment.
Two men involved in the crash were arrested. Christopher D. Bassett, 20, was charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation, and is being held without bail. The other man was released after questioning.
"Zae, he was an awesome kid brother, awesome brother," Zack Dobson said. "Just know that I miss him. I miss my brother."
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Ema O'Connor at email@example.com.
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