Cousin, 12, Of Slain Football Star is Shot Dead After Attending Anti-Gun Violence Event
A 12-year-old boy whose cousin was shot dead last year was killed Saturday night - just hours after attending a basketball game advocating against youth violence.
Jajuan Hubert Latham, from Knoxville, Tennessee, was the younger cousin of 15-year-old Zaevion Dobson, who was hailed a hero by President Obama for giving his life to protect a group of girls from bullets last December.
On Saturday evening, Latham was killed in a drive-by shooting, the Associated Press reported. Authorities said he was in the backseat of his father's parked Chevy Tahoe when gunfire broke out.
The sixth grader and his father were attending a basketball game at Fulton High School hosted by former University of Tennessee basketball player Bobby Maze, according to WATE. Maze had lost his younger cousin four years ago to gun violence, and was inspired to speak out after hearing of Dobson's death, according to the channel.
Jajuan and his father, Hubert Latham, were reportedly driving to the park to pick up Jajuan's friends when gunfire erupted between two passing cars and a "large number of people gathering in the park," the Knoxville Police wrote on Facebook. Several windows were reportedly shot out, and Jajuan suffered from a gunshot wound to the head.
“The first thing I do is reach [to] my son and I just realize he’s not moving, so I’m like, ‘What’s going on, is he asleep?,'” Hubert Latham told WATE. “When I picked him up, that’s when I realized what I seen, blood.”
Hubert Latham rushed his son to the hospital, where Jajuan died later that night from injuries.
"I knew he was going to pull through," his dad said. "It broke my heart 30 minutes later when they came out and told me my son was dead."
In response, Maze told WATE: "The whole purpose of doing this event was to shed some light on some of the things that has been happening in this community.
"Just knowing that Jajuan was one of the first kids at the gym to come in to see this celebrity game and he was excited about this event and to hear about hours later or after the game, he was killed, it really hurt me."
Knoxville officials are asking anyone with more information on the shooting to speak out.
In a press conference, Knoxville Police Chief said: "If you're a member of a gang, we're coming after you. You can count on that."
The shooting comes after Jajuan's 15-year-old cousin was hailed a hero by President Obama for shielding three girls from bullets in December.
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
Authorities said that three men "randomly fired multiple times" when the Tennessee high school football player threw himself into the gunfire. Dobson died from his injuries.
No one has been charged in the shooting.
Christopher Bassett, 20, was arrested the morning following Dobson's shooting.
Citing court records, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Bassett told officers he was among the gang members who shot at Dobson's home. He reportedly admitted firing a gun during the shooting but was not been charged with the killing.
However, he was sentenced to serve two years in jail after he was found to have violated his probation for illegally possessing a gun.