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Prep football player dies shielding girls from gunfire in Tenn.

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    This undated photo released by the Knox County Schools, high school football player Zaevion Dobson, 15, was shot to death Thursday night in Knoxville, Tenn., as he shielded three girls from gunfire in a shooting spree.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. » A high school football player was killed as he shielded three girls from gunfire as several men went on a shooting spree in Tennessee, police said today.

The shootings that killed Zaevion Dobson, 15, began Thursday night, said Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch. The first person shot was Lisa Perry, 46, who was inside her apartment at the time. She is expected to survive.

Rausch said Perry’s 23-year-old son, Brandon Perry, and several other men then drove to the neighborhood where Dobson lived and “randomly fired multiple times.”

The girls shielded by Dobson were not hurt, he said.

Brandon Perry was later found to have been shot after he crashed a car into another apartment. He died from his injuries this morning. Two other men who fled from the crash were arrested, though one was later released after being questioned.

“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.”

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

“Unfortunately, they picked a random group of young men and women who were just hanging out and trying to prepare to celebrate the holiday,” he said.

Dobson’s brother Zach told WBIR-TV that he was among the group sitting on a porch when they saw the men walking up to them.

“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.”

Dobson was a sophomore at Fulton High School in northern Knoxville. The school brought in counselors to speak to students taking makeup tests this morning.

“He was really one of our success stories,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “Involved in sports, a mentee of one of our organizations in town. But still he falls victim to this.”

Rob Black, the coach of the Fulton football team, called Dobson a “fine, fine young man.”

“Only a sophomore, but a very contagious young man who was very liked by his peers and his teachers,” Black said. “Going to be a tough time as we leave from here and go meet with our football players.”

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      • We now have more people dying from gunfire in this country than in automobile accidents. And yes, that level of gun violence only occurs in the good ole USA.

        • copper I seriously doubt that gun violence is worst in the entire world. Ever hear of places like Sierra Leone, Syria, Belfast, Ireland, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Rwanda?

        • copperwire, check this. For every 10 gun homicides in America, there are 207 in South Africa, 144 in Columbia, 92 in Thailand, 51 in Guatemala, 20 in Paraguay and 13 in Zimbabwe.

        • My comment regarding the actual facts is below. Perhaps you should focus some efforts on texting as well.

  • Republicans rather defend the right to bear arms, rather than prevent gun accidents from happening in the first place with tighter ownership controls.

        • Hey copperwire9, if Mike could apply “tighter contols” to posting inflammatory and nearly troll-like comments, then readers would be less inclined to respond in kind. Personally, purely based upon the maturity hinted in his posts, I hope he himself doesn’t have access to a gun. Just saying my say.

        • Because “tighter controls” for some folks passing themselves off as reasonable people, really means a total ban; it’s an ideal most wouldn’t have the courage and integrity to publicly admit to.

    • Yes. I’ve been critical of teen football but it seems that in this case, the young man embodied the values and selflessness that the sport professes to espouse.

  • Actually, 2015, with almost 19,000 auto deaths from January through June, remains on track to be the worst year in quite some time. Through the middle of this month, there have been less than 13,000 gun deaths, per the National Gun Violence archive. Both statistics remain needless and sad commentaries on our culture.

  • There is no greater gift than to sacrifice your own life to save others. He was a true hero and should be recognized as such. How many of us would have the courage to do the same? He was an honorable young man to say the least.

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