In a shooting that broke out at a late-night “Sweet 16” birthday celebration at a dance studio in the small Alabama town of Dadeville, at least four people were murdered and 28 others were injured, according to state police and local media on Sunday. According to authorities, some of the victims of the shooting in east-central Alabama, roughly 60 miles (100 km) northeast of Montgomery, the state capital, were badly injured.
On what caused the gun violence, no official information was available. Authorities stated that the shooting began just after 10:30 p.m. CT on Saturday, but they opted not to address any questions or offer any information at two press briefings on Sunday. Officials said that the neighborhood was no longer in danger, although they did not specify if a suspect had been shot or taken into custody.
“We’re going to continue to work in a very methodical way to go through this scene, to look at the facts, and to ensure that justice is brought to bear for the families,” said Jeremy Burkett, a sergeant with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. One of the four victims of the shooting, according to the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper, was a high school football player who was there at his sister’s “Sweet 16” birthday celebration when the shooting started.
The deceased youngster was named Phil Dowdell by the victim’s grandmother, who was quoted in the media. According to her, he was about to graduate and had plans to attend Jacksonville State University on a football scholarship. Neither the information nor the identity of the other three victims could be independently verified.
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In Dadeville, a community of roughly 3,200 people, the celebration was taking place inside the Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio, a former bank that is situated about a half-block from the municipal hall. On Sunday, yellow crime-scene tape was used to secure the area. For an outdoor prayer vigil, hundreds of locals gathered early on Sunday night in a parking area a few blocks from the shooting location.
‘What Has Our Nation Come to?’
Following separate incidents of deadly gun violence in Tennessee and Kentucky that caused local authorities to demand for stricter gun control laws, the tragedy in Alabama was the third high-profile mass shooting in as many weeks in the American South.
According to the Montgomery Advertiser, a shooter injured five people during a party at an American Legion Hall in Dadeville in August of 2016. This was at least one other mass shooting. What has happened to our country that kids can’t go to a birthday celebration without getting scared? In a statement on Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden stated.
Biden referred to the rising gun violence in the United States as “outrageous and unacceptable,” and he urged the U.S. Congress to pass legislation that would increase the liability of gun manufacturers for gun violence, outlaw assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, require safe storage of firearms, and mandate background checks for gun sales.
Raymond Porter, the superintendent of the Tallapoosa County Schools, announced that Monday will bring counseling to the neighborhood’s schools and requested the local clergy to support families. Don’t forget that those kids are the ones most affected by this scenario; we’ll do everything we can to console them, Porter said.
At the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual conference, the nation’s largest gun lobby, Republicans running for their party’s presidential nomination in 2024 and other prominent party members sought to portray themselves as unwavering supporters of unrestricted gun rights.
The murders in Dadeville happened five days after a bank employee in Louisville, Kentucky, shot five of his coworkers dead and nine more were injured there. A former student murdered three 9-year-olds, three staff members, and three other students on March 27 at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.
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According to the Gun Violence Archive, mass shootings have become routine in the United States, with more than 163 incidents reported so far in 2023—the highest at this stage of the year since at least 2016. A mass shooting, according to the nonprofit organization, is one in which four or more persons are hurt or killed, excluding the gunman.
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