High school football player Zaevion Dobson, 15, died saving three others in a random gang-related shooting spree in Knoxville, Tenn., Dec. 17, 2015.
Fulton High School

Family, friends and classmates are mourning a high school athlete this weekend who sacrificed his life to save three girls. Zaevion Dobson, 15, died during a shooting spree in Knoxville, Tenn., NBC News reports.

The mayhem began Thursday night when shooters opened fire at a house, injuring Lisa Perry, 46, who was hit several times in the back. In retaliation, her son, 23-year-old Brandon Perry, and his friends drove to another neighborhood and randomly fired at people.

Zaevion, a football player at Knoxvilleā€™s Fulton High School, jumped on top of his friends to shield them from the gunfire.

Zack Dobson, Zaevionā€™s older brother, told NBC that they were sitting on a porch when ā€œthese random dudesā€ approached and started shooting.

ā€œI picked him up, and I sat him in my arms, and I was shaking him, and I was like, ā€˜I love you, wake up, I need you, wake up,ā€™ā€ Zack, 17, Ā told CBS News.


The teenage girls were unharmed. ā€œIf it wasnā€™t for Zaevion, me or her would have probably been shot,ā€ one of them said to CBS.

Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said the shootings were gang-related. When asked about Zaevionā€™s actions, Rausch said, ā€œI have a military background; thatā€™s the actions of heroes,ā€ he told CBS. Ā 

The random shootings ended in the early-morning hours on Friday when a rival gang shot Perry while he was driving. Perry crashed the vehicle and died later. Authorities arrested Christopher Bassett, 20, who had survived the crash. Authorities charged him for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and with probation violations.


Knoxville police are searching for three more gang members who are suspected of involvement in Zaevionā€™s killing.

Meanwhile, Zaevionā€™s family is preparing to bury him the day after Christmas.

Read more at NBC News and CBS News.