Obama Calls High School Football Player Who Shielded Girls From Gunfire 'A Hero At 15'

President Obama hailed a slain Tennessee high school football player as a hero after the teen gave his life to save three girls.

In an Twitter post on Sunday, the president said: "Zaevion Dobson died saving three friends from getting shot. He was a hero at 15."

The president also tied the tragedy to his ongoing support of stricter gun laws, asking: "What's our excuse for not acting?"

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Dobson was killed Thursday when several men went on a shooting spree in Knoxville. 

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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