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4 Dead, 28 Hurt In Mass Shooting At 16th Birthday Party In Alabama

Dadeville, AL – Two high school seniors and two adults were killed, and at least 28 more victims were injured, when a gunman opened fire during a 16th birthday celebration in Alabama on Saturday night.

At least 15 of the surviving victims are teenagers, CNN reported.

Five remained in critical condition on Monday.

The mass shooting occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. on April 15 during a 16th birthday party at the Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio located in the 200-block of Broadnax Street, WBLA reported.

Keenan Cooper said he was working as a DJ at the gathering, which he estimated was attended by 40 or 50 people, according to WBLA.

Cooper said someone mentioned at one point that “someone had a gun,” so the party was halted and a request was made for anyone with a firearm to leave the premises.

“Nobody left and the party continued,” he told WBLA.

About an hour later, someone opened fire inside the venue and gunned down dozens of partygoers.

Cooper said several kids hid underneath his table.

“I had a lot of people under the table and beside me trying to protect them,” he told WBLA. “After everybody ran out, I made sure they were ok and that’s when I came out and the police arrived.”

The DJ said it was dark inside the building, so no one saw the attack coming.

Police have not identified the gunman but said the suspect is no longer a threat to the community, the Montgomery Advertiser reported.

Few other details have been released.

Four victims were murdered in the mass shooting.

The Tallapoosa County Coroner has identified them as 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole Smith, 18-year-old Philstavious Dowdell, 19-year-old Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, and 23-year-old Corbin Dahmontry Holston, WBLA reported.

Dowdell was the brother of the girl whose 16th birthday was being celebrated, according to CNN.

He and Smith were both seniors at Dadeville High School and were anxiously awaiting their upcoming graduation, CNN reported.

Smith was planning to attend the University of Alabama.

Dowdell, a star football player, had earned a scholarship to play for Jacksonville State University, CNN reported.

In addition to the five teens who remained in critical condition on Monday, four more were listed in stable condition.

Six other wounded teenagers have been released from the hospital and are continuing to recover at home, Lake Martin Community Hospital Spokesperson Heidi Smith told CNN.

“It was chaotic,” Dadeville Mayor Frank Goodman said of the scene at Lake Martin Community Hospital, according to the Associated Press. “There were people running around. They were crying and screaming. There were police cars everywhere, there were ambulances everywhere. People were trying to find out about their loved ones. That was a scene, where we never had anything like this happen in our city before.”

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) State Bureau of Investigation is handling the ongoing investigation with the assistance of the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s office, the Dadeville Police Department, the 5th Circuit District Attorney’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, WBLA reported.

“One thing I want you to know about the city of Dadeville,” Police Chief Jonathan Floyd told the Montgomery Advertiser. “The city of Dadeville is a tight-knit community full of wonderful people. I ask you to please keep our community in your prayers. I ask you to keep my police department in your prayers, and I also ask each of you please do not let this moment define what you think about the city of Dadeville and our fine people. What we’ve dealt with is something that no community should have to endure.”

The White House said President Joe Biden was briefed on the mass shooting and that he has been monitoring the situation closely, the Associated Press reported.

“What has our nation come to when children cannot attend a birthday party without fear? When parents have to worry every time their kids walk out the door to school, to the movie theater, or to the park?” President Biden asked in a statement Sunday. “Guns are the leading killer of children in America, and the numbers are rising – not declining. This is outrageous and unacceptable.”

The President said Congress must “require safe storage of firearms, require background checks for all gun sales, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” to bring about an end to gun violence, the Associated Press reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin


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