High School Football Player, 15, Dies While Shielding Three Girls From Random Gunfire

A Tennessee high school football player died this week when he threw himself between gunfire and three girls, police say.

Zaevion Dobson, 15, likely saved the three girls when he was gunned down Thursday when several men went on a shooting spree in Knoxville.

The girls were unharmed when up to three shooters "randomly fired multiple times" in Dobson's neighborhood. not long after 10 p.m., police said.

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"These cowardly and senseless acts of violence must stop," Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said. "We should be preparing to celebrate the Christmas holiday, but now we have two men who are dead."

Rausch said investigators think the shootings are gang-related, but he said there didn't appear to be a motive to target Dobson, the Associated Press reports.

Police believe the shootings began when Lisa Perry, 46, was shot inside her apartment. Her injuries were believed to be non-life-threatening.

According to Rausch, Perry's 23-year-old son, Brandon Perry, and several other men then drove to the neighborhood where Dobson lived.

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"I’m shocked. I’m really just shocked. I cant believe it, cant get it across my head,” said Zaevion's older brother, Zack Dobson told WBIR. “We were just sitting on the porch chillin', and we see these random dudes walking up."

Hours after the shooting, Perry was found shot in a 2002 BMW that had crashed into a building, police said on Facebook. Perry had been shot prior to the crash. He was transported to an area hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Two men who fled from the scene were later arrested. One was questioned and released.

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The other man, 20-year-old Christopher Bassett, has been charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation. Knoxville police said additional charges could be forthcoming. 

Bassett is currently being held without bond.

Meanwhile, Zack Dobson said his brother will be dearly missed.

"Why would you shoot at random bystanders for nothing? We were just sitting there chilling," Dobson said. "Zae, he was an awesome kid, awesome brother. Just know that I miss him. I miss my brother."

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