KNOXVILLE — Police have charged two men with first-degree murder in the death of Zaevion Dobson, the teenager who gave his life last year shielding two friends from gunfire.
Dobson, a 15-year-old sophomore at Fulton High School, was shot as he and two girls walked home through the Lonsdale community. The shooting was one of four attacks beginning Dec. 17 and extending into the early hours of Dec. 18.
Police have called the shootings gang-related, but Dobson and his friends had no gang ties. Police believe they were targeted by mistake.
Dobson’s sacrifice drew nationwide attention, including praise from President Barack Obama, and put a spotlight on increased inner-city violence in Knoxville.
A Knox County grand jury returned a 27-count indictment Wednesday against Christopher Drone Bassett and Richard Williams in Dobson’s death, Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen said at a news conference. She gave few specifics and answered no questions.
The indictment includes charges of first-degree murder and eight counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Christopher Bassett was arrested the morning after Dobson’s shooting on a weapons charge and had been behind bars for months. He told police he was among gang members who sprayed bullets at the house where Dobson and his friends were gathered, court records show.
Knoxville police say Bassett was with three others, including Brandon Perry, 23, when they went to Lonsdale Homes late on Dec. 17. Perry was killed hours later in a separate shooting.
The four were upset after Perry’s mother, Lisa, had been shot earlier in the night, police said.
Bassett is serving a two-year prison sentence for a May 2014 arrest for possessing a stolen gun.
Williams was arrested in April after police said he ran from a crash near Morningside Park. He remains in jail with bond set at $1 million.