KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville Police Department said they believe Brandon Perry was involved in a shooting that served as a catalyst for three other shootings that left 2 dead and 1 person injured.
Just after 5:00 p.m.. Thursday, December 17, police said E-911 received multiple calls of shots fired in the Western Heights area of Knoxville. Investigators identified Brandon Perry as one of the people possibly responsible for the incident.
Police believe the incident prompted a shooting at Brandon Perry’s home where his mother was shot. After learning his mother was shot, investigators said Brandon and several additional suspects drove to Badgett Drive where they shot and killed Fulton High School football player Zaevion Dobson.
Dobson had no connection to Perry or involvement in earlier shootings, according to police. Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said shooters picked a random group of young men and women, including Dobson, who were gathered to celebrate the holiday. He said Dobson died shielding three girls from bullets.
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“It’s early in the investigation, but certainly we believe, not of the kids that were in Lonsdale, but the random shooting,” said Rausch on gang ties to the shooting. “Those that were committing the shootings absolutely we believe that there is some connections with the shootings.”
Later that night, investigators said Perry was tracked down by unknown individuals and shot while behind the wheel of a vehicle. After being shot more than once, police said his vehicle crashed into a Green Hills Apartment. He later died at the hospital.
Police said George Malik Rashaad, 20, who was named as a person of interest in the case, was located and interviewed. They said they are still searching for a second person of interest named in the case, Kipling Deshawn Colbert Jr., 20. It is believed Colbert has information regarding those incidents.
Anyone with information on Colbert’s whereabouts or information on the shootings is asked to call the Knoxville Police Department’s crime information line at (865) 215-7212. Police said callers can remain anonymous.
Knoxville Police Department on Friday asked Knoxville to step up and help stop senseless violence after three overnight shootings tied to gang violence left two young men dead and one woman injured.
“This cowardly and senseless acts of violence must stop. We ask for peace and I plea with the faith community, please pray for our community, but this stops now,” he said. “We should be preparing to celebrate the Christmas holiday, but now we have two young men who are dead and we have a woman in the hospital who is recovering from her wounds.”
Thursday night at approximately 7:18 p.m. Rausch said police responded to a shots fired call with a victim at at a residence at 238 Dallas Street. He said two people were inside that residence when the house was struck multiple times.
Lisa Perry, 46, was struck more than one time in the lower back, according to Rausch. He said Lisa Perry was transported to University of Tennessee Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. A 10-year-old child was also inside the residence, but was not injured, according to him.
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At approximately 10:12 p.m., Rausch said the 23-year-old son of Lisa Perry, Brandon Perry, along with several additional males drove to the Lonsdale area and randomly fired multiple times into a crowd on Badgett Drive. “Zaevion Dobson, a 15-year-old Fulton High School student and football player was struck and killed after he had jumped on top of three girls to shield them from the shooters,” said Rausch choking up. Rausch said no other injuries were reported.
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At 1:59 a.m. police said a 2002 BMW crashed into an apartment at 1201 Green Hills Apartments. At that location police said they had to rescue a woman who was trapped inside her apartment. Fortunately, Rausch said the woman was not injured.
The driver of the vehicle, Brandon Perry, was shot prior to crashing the vehicle into the apartment, according to Rausch. He was transported to University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment, according to police. At approximately 6:00 a.m. Friday morning Rausch said Perry died from his injuries. No other injuries were reported, according to police.
Brandon Perry has a criminal history that includes several drug related offenses, unlawful possession of a weapon and alteration of distinguishing numbers. Police at the time of the incident in March 2014 say he filed the serial numbers off of a handgun.
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Rausch said two males who fled from the crashed vehicle at Green Hill Apartments on foot were quickly taken into custody by responding officers. He said both males were questioned by investigators. Christopher Bassett, 20, has been charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and violation of probation. More charges are pending. He is being held without bond.
The other male was released after questioning.
“Investigators are working with the district attorney general’s office on charging that second suspect,” said Rausch. “Investigators have been working tirelessly throughout the night on these incidents. This is a very active investigation.”
Knoxville police is asking anyone with information on the shootings to call their hot-line at (865) 215-7212. Rausch said officers will keep the public informed of any updates in the case.
“I do want to thank the community for the response at this point. They have been very helpful in our investigation. Especially the Lonsdale community,” said Rausch. “They stepped up last night, providing us with very vital information throughout the night.”
Police will deploy additional resources starting Friday afternoon and through the next several days in the neighborhoods where the shootings took place according to Rausch. The Knoxville Police chief said he pleads with the community to step up and to stop the violence.