OAN Brooke Mallory
UPDATED 11:05 AM – Monday, April 17, 2023
A tragic event had occurred Saturday night when gunshots broke out at a “Sweet 16” birthday celebration in a dance studio in Dadeville, Alabama, leaving four teenagers dead and 28 others injured, some of whom were in severe condition.
The Tallapoosa County investigation went on all day Sunday without any arrests being reported in the case.
At least two of the victims were among the 485 students at Dadeville High School. There, grief counselors will be on hand in the small community of around 3,000 residents.
“It is an unreal tragedy… I am so devastated right now. We have a really good school and these were great students,” Dadeville High Principal Chris Hand said.
The shooting occurred at approximately 10:34 p.m. on Saturday night, one block away from the courthouse in downtown Dadeville, inside Mahogany’s Masterpiece dance studio.
Few specifics regarding what precipitated the sudden gunfire was made public as of Sunday evening.
The injured had a “wide variety of injuries” ranging from minor to critical, according to ALEA Senior Trooper Jeremy Burkett, who spoke to the press at the Tallapoosa County Courthouse.
“This is a very fluid situation… We are still trying to confirm everyone who was at the scene,” Burkett said.
A football player from the town named Philstavious “Phil” Dowdell, who had just signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to play wide receiver at Jacksonville State University, was among those included in the casualties. The “Sweet 16” birthday party had been held for Dowdell’s sister.
Dadeville High’s assistant coach for football, basketball, and track, Michael Taylor, was on the scene Sunday morning. He said that slot receiver Dowdell was among the greatest in the state at football. He was a basketball player, a state champion in track in 2022, and an honor student. A triple threat.
“As good a football, basketball and track athlete as he was, he was just as good a person. He always worked hard, was humble, all the time. He hung on every word the coaches gave him. Whatever you told him, he trusted it and did everything you asked him to do,” Coach McDowell said.
Another victim, Keke Nicole Smith, was a senior at Dadeville High School.
According to the Alexander City Outlook, Smith oversaw the basketball and track & field teams. Before being disabled by a knee injury in her junior year. She also played softball and volleyball.
“Just like Phil, she was very very humble and she had this huge smile like Phil had… She would joke around all the time, and she got onto all of us — even me. She was just full of life,” Taylor continued.
The two other remaining victims were identified by Tallapoosa County Coroner Mike Knox as Dadeville residents Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23, and Marsiah Emmanuel “Siah” Collins, 19.
Collins, a 19-year-old budding musician, was excited to enroll at Louisiana State University, where his father would also be pursuing a law degree.
Collins, a former defensive end at Opelika High School, graduated in 2022 and took a year off to concentrate on his music career, according to Collins’ father, Martin Collins.
“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.”
It was originally reported that 15 young adults with injuries were admitted to the hospital, according to a statement from Heidi Smith, director of marketing at Lake Martin Hospital. Nine patients were moved to different hospitals, nine received treatment, and five were in severe condition. More injured victims from the incident have since then visited the hospital to treat their wounds.
Authorities have not provided anymore information regarding the perpetrators who are wanted in connection with the shooting.
“I have not heard anything formally in terms of the number of suspects, motives. There’s just a lot of details that are sketchy at this time,” said Tallapoosa County Commission Chairman T.C. Coley.
Regarding suspects, motives, or whether someone is in custody, ALEA has not made any statements. Anyone with information is urged to contact ALEA at 800-392-8011 or email@example.com
Stay informed! Receive breaking news blasts directly to your inbox for free. Subscribe here. https://www.oann.com/alerts