4 Killed, 32 Injured At Alabama Birthday Party

Over the weekend, the U.S. saw yet another tragic and senseless mass shooting—this time, in Dadeville, Alabama, during a birthday celebration.

Alabama Shooting

Source: Megan Varnery / Getty

According to AL.com, four Black teenagers were killed Saturday, and 32 other people were injured after gunfire erupted at a “sweet 16” party in Tallapoosa County. So far, no suspects or arrests have been announced as police continue to search for answers. 

“It is an unreal tragedy,” said  Principal Chris Hand, the principal at Dadeville High School, where at least two of the killed victims were students. “I am so devastated right now. We have a really good school and these were great students.”

There are limited details in terms of how the shooting started and over what. What is known is that most of those injured were teenagers and the party’s DJ unsuccessfully tried to eject anyone from the party who might have been carrying weapons. We also know that some of the survivors were critically injured, which, hopefully, won’t result in a rise in the death toll from the violent incident.

Tallapoosa County Coroner Mike Knox identified the victims as 23-year-old Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, Philstavious Dowdell, 18, Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, 19, and 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole Smith.

Philstavious Dowdell was a slot receiver for the Dadeville High football team who had recently committed to play wide receiver for Jacksonville State University.

Dadeville assistant coach Michael Taylor called Dowdell, who also played basketball and ran track, one of the greatest football players in Alabama.

Dowdell’s sister, Alexis Dowdell, who was also present during the shooting, said her brother died protecting her.

“I guess he tried to push me out the door as fast as he could, but I ended up slipping on blood, because it was a whole bunch of blood on the floor,” she said to AL.com. “I wasn’t crying at the moment because I was trying to be strong instead of panicking. And so I said, ‘You’re going to be all right. You’re a fighter, you’re strong.”

Shaunkivia Nicole Smith, who played volleyball and ran track for the school before suffering a knee injury, was a manager of the basketball and track and field teams. Taylor described Smith as being “full of love.”

“Just like Phil, she was very very humble and she had this huge smile like Phil had,” he said. “She would joke around all the time, and she got onto all of us—even me. She was just full of life.”

Here’s what AL.com reported about another victim, Marsiah Emmanuel Collins:

Collins was a 19-year-old aspiring musician who was looking forward to attending LSU in the fall, where his father is also pursuing a law degree.

Collins’ father, Martin Collins, said his son, a former defensive end at Opelika High School, graduated in 2022 and took a year off to focus on his music career.

“He was a funny, charismatic kid who loved to light up a room. He had a lot of my mom’s personality. He could do that just being in a house.”

The final victim, Holston, was not even at the venue to attend the birthday party, according to his mother, Janett Heard, who said he was only there “out of concern for other family members” who were there and were concerned about the possibility of gun violence, which tragically became a reality.

As for the current state of the investigation into the shooting, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Senior Trooper Jeremy Burkett couldn’t confirm if the attack was random or targeted, but he did confirm that no evidence has been found that any kind of assault rifle was used, which has been common in the many mass shootings that have occurred on U.S. soil this year alone.

“Special agents did not recover any high-powered rifle ammunition at the scene; however, they did recover numerous shell casings used in handguns,” Burkett said in a written statement. “Investigators are still processing all of the evidence, in conjunction with completing interviews, in an effort to solidify a motive and potential suspects.”

Alabama Shooting

Source: Megan Varnery / Getty

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