Zaevion Dobson was on a porch with friends in Knoxville, Tennessee’s Lonsdale neighborhood in December 2015 when someone opened fire. Dobson jumped on top of three nearby girls in an effort to protect them. He was shot and killed.
Dobson’s story is now the subject of an ESPN “30 for 30” documentary, set to air on Thursday night. The film, “24 Strong,” takes its title from the number on Dobson’s football jersey. It chronicles his life through the recollections of his mother, coaches, and classmates at Fulton High School.
Dobson’s story quickly went viral. Shortly after his death, President Obama tearfully invoked Dobson while making the case for gun reform, and the teen was posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at last year’s ESPY Awards. “24 Strong” is an outgrowth of the 12-minute video about Dobson’s short life that aired at the televised ceremony.
Zaevion Dobson died saving three friends from getting shot. He was a hero at 15. What's our excuse for not acting? https://t.co/hn98uGsjKZ
— President Obama (@POTUS44) December 20, 2015
Police said neither Dobson, who mentored black youth in his spare time, nor anyone in the crowd had ties to the suspected gunmen. Three people have been charged with Dobson’s murder. One of the suspects said the shooting was the result of a decades-long turf battle that pits gang members from the east side of town against those on the west.
“If it wasn’t for Zaevion, if he would have just ran off the porch, we would have probably been shot,” Kiara Rucker, one of the girls shielded by Dobson, told the local CBS affiliate. Two days after the shooting, Faith Gordon, who was also saved by Dobson, got a tattoo of his likeness to commemorate his brave final act.