4 Killed at Dadeville AL 16th Birthday Party Shooting


At least four people have been killed and 28 injured in a mass shooting at a 16th birthday party in the US state of Alabama. High school senior Phil Dowdell, a star athlete, has been named by local media as one of the victims. The incident has taken the US to a grim milestone of more than 160 mass shootings – in which four or more people are shot – so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Dadeville, a small rural city with a population of about 3,200 people, is not used to scenes of violence on this scale. Little is known about a possible suspect and details have emerged about how the shooting was brought to an end.

Sgt Jeremy Burkett of the state’s law enforcement agency said the investigation would be a “long, complicated process”. He said the injuries ranged from “extremely critical” to minor. It is likely that most of the victims were teenagers.

At a local parking lot where a vigil was being held, teenagers could be seen visibly shaking and crying from the shock of what happened last night. Many shared hugs and tears as they tried to comfort one another.

Keenan Cooper, the DJ at the birthday party in the dance studio, told reporters he tried to help get guests under tables when it started, but it was too dark to see where and who the shots were coming from.

Alabama’s state governor Kay Ivey said: “This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians. Violent crime has no place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge.”

Ivey is a strong supporter of second amendment rights – the right to keep and bear arms – and last year signed legislation ending a requirement to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public. Her candidacy for last year’s governor election was endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

President Joe Biden renewed his calls for tougher gun laws after the incident. In a statement released by the White House on Sunday he said: “What has our nation come to when children cannot attend a birthday party without fear?” Mr Biden added that the American people wanted lawmakers to act on “common sense gun safety reforms”.

The shocking incident in Tallapoosa County, in the east of Alabama, follows a shooting on the same day at a park in Louisville, Kentucky, which killed two people and injured four others. The rise in shootings has been described by Mr Biden as “outrageous and unacceptable”.

As the town woke to the news on Sunday, many shared hugs and tears as they tried to comfort one another. One woman at the vigil, Shondra, told the BBC her cousin was at the birthday party last night. She said: “They were being free, they were celebrating a life. You never think it’s going to happen in your area.”

The area around the dance studio remains cordoned off as authorities investigate the incident. It is clear that this tragedy has had a devastating impact on the small community of Dadeville and beyond. The nation is once again grieving as it faces yet another mass shooting and calls for tougher gun laws continue to grow.