There were also multiple people injured in the shooting in Dadeville, Alabama, a town with a population of 3,000
A Sweet 16 party turned into a scene of carnage when four people were killed and at least 15 teenagers were shot and wounded, officials said.
The deadly rampage happened in downtown Dadeville around 10:34 p.m. Saturday, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said Sunday.
“There were four lives tragically lost in this incident, and there’s been a multitude of injuries,” Sgt. Jeremy J. Burkett said.
One of the victims killed was Philstavious Dowdell – a stellar high school football player and the brother of the birthday girl, said Ben Hayes, the football team’s chaplain, and Keenan Cooper, who was the DJ at the party when the gunfire broke out.
Cooper told CNN he didn’t hear a fight or disturbance prior to the shooting.
“It’s really sad to see all the kids that were shot and the ones that are deceased,” he said. “And seeing all those bodies at the front door, all those kids are probably going to be traumatized.”
At least 15 teenagers were treated for gunshot wounds – including several who are in critical condition.
Of the 15 teens taken to Dadeville’s Lake Martin Community Hospital, six have been treated and released, hospital spokesperson Heidi Smith said.
The remaining nine have been transferred to other medical facilities. At last check, five of those teens were in critical condition, and four were in stable condition.
CNN has also reached out to Dadeville’s Russell Medical Center but had not received a response Sunday afternoon.
Dowdell was about to graduate high school next month and earned a scholarship to play football at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama, Cooper said.
The teen was “kind of like the hometown hero,” Cooper said.
Jacksonville State Head Coach Rich Rodriguez issued a statement Sunday mourning Dowdell’s death.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Philstavious Dowdell and the other victims of the senseless tragedy last night,” Rodriguez said.
“He was a great young man with a bright future.”
Dadeville, population 3,000, is about 45 miles northeast of Montgomery.
“What we’ve dealt with is something that no community should have to endure,” Dadeville Police Chief Jonathan L. Floyd said Sunday.
“I also ask each of you please do not let this moment define what you think about the city of Dadeville and our fine people.”
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey sent her condolences to the community. “This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians,” Ivey said in a statement to CNN.
“Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge.”
The Alabama shooting happened the same day that shots were fired into a crowd at a park in Louisville, Kentucky. Two people were killed and four others were wounded.
That incident marked the city’s second mass shooting in less than a week. Last Monday, a gunman killed five people and injured several others at Louisville’s Old National Bank – about 5 miles away from Chickasaw Park.
Across the country, the US has suffered at least 162 mass shootings in the first 15 weeks of 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive. That’s an average of more than 1.5 mass shootings every day so far this year.
The archive defines mass shootings as those in which four or more people are shot, excluding the shooter.