KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two men have been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy who shielded two girls from the gunfire, a Tennessee prosecutor announced Thursday.
Zaevion Dobson was praised by President Barack Obama as a hero shortly after the teenager was killed Dec. 17, 2015. Since then he has also been honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, and there is a Zaevion Dobson Memorial Playground and Park in the works near his Knoxville home.
Christopher Bassett and Richard Williams were indicted Wednesday in Zaevion’s death, Knox County District Attorney General Charme (SHARM’) Allen said at a news conference. They are also charged with the attempted first-degree murders of eight other people.
Allen did not take questions. No one immediately returned a telephone call to the public defender’s office on Thursday asking about attorneys for the two men.
Jail records show Williams was booked into the Knox County Jail on Thursday, with a $1 million bond. Bassett, who also had a $1 million bond, has been in custody since shortly after the Dec. 17 shooting on a weapons charge.
At a January hearing to revoke Bassett’s probation in a separate case, a detective testified that Bassett and two others went to the housing development where Zaevion and friends were gathered and shot into the group of teenagers. Zaevion was killed, but the two girls he shielded were unhurt.
Police found 23 .40-caliber shell casings and nine 9 mm shell casings on the street.
With Bassett was Brandon Perry, whose mother had been shot earlier the same night, police have said. The men mistakenly targeted Zaevion and his friends in retaliation, police said. Perry was killed hours later in a separate shooting.
Zaevion was a sophomore at Fulton High School where he played football, wearing jersey No. 24. Earlier this month, Tennessee safety Todd Kelly Jr. switched his uniform number from 6 to 24 to honor Zaevion. Kelly is from Knoxville and said he had known Zaevion since elementary school.
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