Community leaders hope Zaevion Dobson verdict brings closure, change

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - A jury found three men guilty Thursday in the murder of Zaevion Dobson. Dobson was killed while shielding two friends from gunfire during a shooting in Lonsdale in December 2015. 

Dobson was a member of the 100 Black Men Club in Knoxville at the time of his death. Andre Canty was the president the 100 Black Men when Dobson was murdered.  

"I was angry, right," said Canty. "Because he was one of those good kids, right. We mentored him, he was also a mentor, played football with his brother Zack, and it felt unfair."

Canty says Thursday's verdict helps but doesn't bring Dobson back.

"There's justice," said Canty. "But the fact that it came to this place is sobering but I think there is some relief today."

State Representative Rick Staples is also involved in 100 Black Men. He says this verdict will hopefully allow the Dobson family to start healing.

"To have to relive everything during this trial process, I'm sure has been difficult," said Rep. Staples. "But prayerfully this will be some since of closure and I'm glad that justice was served in this situation."

Both Canty and Rep. Staples say even though a verdict has been served in Dobson's murder, the fight isn't over.

"None of our kids, whether its East Knoxville, Lonsdale, Mechanicsville, these kids are not monsters," said Canty. "There's no innate desire for these kids to do evil acts. A lot of times it's circumstances, and a lack of resources and access to those resources."

Rep. Staples saying the communities need to step up and help the kids. 

"We have to create more opportunities for our young people to get training, to build their skill set," said Rep. Staples. "So, when they go out into a community they can earn a wage, earn a good wage and sew unto themselves a good future, so they don't have to turn to any criminal activity to sustain themselves."

Canty says he hopes Zaevion can be an inspiration and his tragic death a platform for change.

"I hope this and what happened will be an example for anybody to transform their life," said Canty.

Trending Stories

Latest Local News

Video Center