Four people died and 28 others were wounded at a birthday party in Dadeville, the U.S. state of Alabama, over the weekend.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) launched a death investigation at the request of the Dadeville police chief. The investigation is a result of a shooting that occurred at approximately 10:34 p.m. local time Saturday near the 200 Block of Broadnax Street in Dadeville, located in Tallapoosa County.
One of the fatal victims was Philstavious Dowdell, a stellar high school football player and the brother of the birthday girl. Dowdell had committed to attending Jacksonville State University and joining its football team.
Rich Rodriguez, Jacksonville State’s head football coach, tweeted that the death of Dowdell and the other victims is a “senseless tragedy.”
“He was a great young man with a bright future. My staff and I are heartbroken and hope that everyone will support his family through this difficult time,” he said.
BREAKING NEWS: There were 2 Mass Shootings last night and another double-shooting at a college in Pennsylvania. When will this stop? Details:.
1) A shooting at a Sweet-16 birthday celebration in downtown Dadeville, Alabama, left over 20 people injured, and 6 dead, mostly… pic.twitter.com/Vaz8NPLKRS
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein)
April 16, 2023
Twenty-eight people were injured during the course of the incident with some of those injuries being critical, according to the ALEA. Authorities didn’t mention a suspect or suspects, or an arrest, as of Sunday evening.
A small city with a population of some 3,000 people, Dadeville is located about an hour’s drive from Alabama’s capital Montgomery. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey tweeted on Sunday that she was grieving the events in Dadeville.
“This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians,” Ivey tweeted. “Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge.”
Also on Sunday, U.S. President Joe Biden said that the nation “is once again grieving for at least four Americans tragically killed at a teen’s birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama.”
“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?” he said.
There have been 161 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.
Meanwhile, more than 12,200 people, including hundreds of children and teens, have lost their lives to gun violence in the past several months, the website’s data showed.
Guns are one of the most divisive issues in the U.S. Democrats are in general in support of more gun control while most Republicans argue that gun rights should not be infringed upon.
The Dadeville shooting came only a day after the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. The NRA is an influential American gun rights advocacy group.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump, the early frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, vowed in Indianapolis that he will protect the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
“The politically incorrect truth that no one on the left wants to admit is that violent crime is rarely committed by illegal gun owners… It is committed by a brutal class of hardened repeat criminals… I promise you this — with me at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue no one will lay a finger on your firearms,” he said.
In his statement on Sunday, Biden, a Democrat, criticized Republican figures’ remarks at the NRA convention.
“Americans agree and want lawmakers to act on commonsense gun safety reforms. Instead, this past week Americans saw national Republican elected leaders stand alongside the NRA in a race to the bottom on dangerous laws that further erode gun safety. Our communities need and deserve better,” he said.