Two teenage boys, Ty Reik McCullough, 17, and Travis McCullough, 16, have been charged with four counts of reckless murder after a shooting at a 16th birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama over the weekend. The attack left four dead and 32 injured, four of whom remain in critical condition.
District Attorney Mike Segrest acknowledged the lack of information provided up to this point, saying, “I know that there has been some frustration among our community and among media about a lack of information that has been provided up to this point.” The deceased victims have been identified as Marsiah Collins, 19; Phil Dowdell, 18; Corbin Holston, 23; and Shaunkivia Smith, 17.
Mr Dowdell died trying to save his sister Alexis, his family has said. He was a star athlete on his high school’s American football team and had been due to graduate to go to Jacksonville State University on a sports scholarship. One of his friends and school football teammate told the BBC: “Phil to me was an amazing friend. God’s got an angel.”
The suspects are from Tuskegee, Alabama which is about a 40 minute drive from Dadeville. Sergeant Jeremy Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) urged those who were at the party at the dance hall to contact authorities if they have not already done so. “We need you to come forward for these families, for these victims,” he said.
The weekend attack took the US to a grim milestone of more than 160 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines such events as ones in which four or more people are shot. Police have yet to offer any details about a motive or the type of firearm used in the attack.
Ty Reik McCullough and Travis McCullough were arrested on Tuesday night and are being charged as adults. ALEA said that a complex and thorough investigation was conducted with assistance from a multitude of law enforcement agencies. More charges are expected in the case.
The tragedy has shocked the small town of Dadeville, which has a population of roughly 3,000 residents. The party was attended by around 50 people. ALEA is asking anyone who was present to come forward and provide information that could help bring justice to the victims and their families.