- Oct 2010
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends ... or strangers.
More: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/19/heroic-high-school-football-player-killed-shielding-teenage-girls-from-gunmen/Heroic high school football player killed shielding teenage girls from gunmen
When the shooting began Thursday night in Knoxville, Tenn., Zaevion Dobson faced a split-second choice: run away and save himself or use his body as a shield to protect those around him.
Nobody would’ve have blamed the 15-year-old Fulton High School football player for doing the former. But Dobson, survivors would later recall, sacrificed himself, jumping on top of three teenage girls who were sitting on a porch with a few other friends when two men approached and began shooting randomly into the group, according to the Associated Press.
“If it wasn’t for Zaevion, if he would have just ran off the porch, we would have probably been shot,” Kiara Rucker told CBS affiliate WVLT.
Dobson was killed by a bullet that struck him in the head, police said. He was the only person among the group who was hit.
“You’re my hero, I’ll never forget you,” Faith Gordon, who credited Dobson with saving her life, wrote on Twitter.
“Unfortunately, they picked a random group of young men and women who were just hanging out and trying to prepare to celebrate the holiday,” Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch told the AP.
Zach Dobson, the victim’s brother, told NBC-affiliate WBIR-TV that the shooting took those on the scene by surprise. By the time the group of young people realized that Dobson had been shot in the moments of confusion that followed, it was too late.
“He was laying there, and I just pick him up and put him in my arms,” his brother said. “He was dead. Unfortunately, he wasn’t lucky, but he saved two lives.”
“I pulled on him and said ‘You can get up now’ but he didn’t get up,” Gordon told WVLT. “So I just went upstairs, and by the time I came back to make sure everything was real, (I saw) he was shot in the head.”