Zaevion Dobson

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Zaevion Dobson
Zaevion William Dobson

(2000-06-28)June 28, 2000
DiedDecember 17, 2015(2015-12-17) (aged 15)
Knoxville, Tennessee, U.S.
AwardsArthur Ashe Courage Award (posthumous)

Zaevion William Dobson (June 28, 2000 – December 17, 2015) was a school football player at Fulton High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. He became the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, for shielding three girls from gunfire.


Zaevion William Dobson was born on June 28, 2000, in Knoxville, Tennessee, to parents Zenobia Dobson and Lionell Kimber.[1] Dobson has two brothers, Zackelyn Dobson and Markastin Taylor.[2] He was a football player wearing the number 24 at Fulton High School, playing for the Falcons.[2]

Death and legacy[edit]

On December 17, 2015, Dobson shielded three girls from an apparent random drive-by shooting in his neighborhood. Dobson was shot and killed. The suspects' vehicle later crashed, the driver had suffered a gunshot wound and later died, and the other two suspects fled the scene but were later captured. Police believe Dobson's death was the last of two other related shootings earlier in the evening.[3][4]

For his actions, Dobson posthumously received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in July 2016. His mother accepted the award on his behalf.[5][6][7]

To honor Dobson's legacy, Tennessee Volunteer and Knoxville native Todd Kelly Jr. elected to wear Dobson's number (24) for the 2016 college football season.[8]

On October 27, 2017, a ceremony was held at the Falcon’s final game. Dobson’s number was retired, as he would have been a senior and would have had his last game that night. [9]

On February 2, 2018, three suspects; Christopher Drone Bassett, Richard Gregory Williams III and Kipling Colbert Jr. were sentenced. Bassett received life imprisonment while Williams and Colbert both received sentences of over 100 years in prison.[10]

The Change Center was opened in December 2018 partly as inspiration from Dobson's acts.[11]


  1. ^ Dobson family (December 24, 2015). "Zaevion Dobson Obituary". Knoxville News-Sentinel. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Levine, Daniel S. (June 21, 2016). "Zaevion William Dobson: 5 Fast Facts You Need To Know". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  3. ^ "Knoxville high school football player Zaevion Dobson killed in gang shooting". December 18, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  4. ^ Francis, Enjoli (December 18, 2015). "HS Football Player Killed Trying to Shield Others From Gunfire". ABC News. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  5. ^ Augustin, Camille (June 21, 2016). "Slain Teen, Zaevion Dobson, To Be Honored With Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYS". Vibe. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  6. ^ Augustine, Bernie (June 21, 2016). "Courage ESPY to Zaevion Dobson, football star killed in shooting". Daily News. New York. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Harper, Kathleen (June 21, 2016). "Tennessee Teen Who Died Protecting 3 Girls Will Receive Arthur Ashe Award". Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  8. ^ "Here's how a Tennessee defensive back will honor a slain Knoxville teen". Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  9. ^ "Fulton retires Zaevion Dobson's No. 24 at Senior Night". October 27, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  10. ^ "Judge doles out hefty prison terms in Zaevion Dobson slaying". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  11. ^ "Knoxville remembers Zaevion Dobson 3 years after heroic shooting death". ABC 6. December 17, 2018. Retrieved December 19, 2018. The Fulton High School football player's story quickly spread and eventually reached the White House. Dobson became the face of the local anti-gang movement, which eventually led to the opening of The Change Center just last week.