Zaevion William Dobson, a football player at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, died after being shot Thursday night.
According to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com), Knoxville police said the 15-year-old Dobson was shielding "three girls from gunfire as several men went on a shooting spree."
Per the AP, the shootings started Thursday night with a woman named Lisa Perry being shot inside her apartment. Her son, Brandon Perry, and "several other men then drove to the neighborhood where Dobson lived and 'randomly fired multiple times.'''
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said the three girls Dobson was shielding were unharmed in the shooting. He added that the investigators suspect the shootings are "gang-related," per the AP, though he doesn't believe there was a reason to target Dobson specifically.
"Unfortunately, they picked a random group of young men and women who were just hanging out and trying to prepare to celebrate the holiday,'' Rausch said.
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero also spoke about Dobson, praising the Fulton High School football player as "one of our success stories."
"Involved in sports, a mentee of one of our organizations in town," Dobson said. "But still he falls victim to this.''
Head coach Rob Black added Dobson was "a very contagious young man who was very liked by his peers and his teachers."