TALLAPOOSA COUNTY, AL - On Saturday, April 15, 2023, a mass shooting occurred in Dadeville, Alabama, the victims were mostly teenagers, with four fatalities and thirty-two injuries.
began on April 15, 2023, at 10:34 P.M. CST at 220 N. Broadnax Street during a 16th birthday celebration inside the former Dadeville Bank which had been converted into the Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio in 2021.
The birthday celebrant recounted that her older brother had found her at the party after hearing that someone there had a gun. The celebrant's mother, after hearing the same rumor, had turned on the lights and anyone with a gun to leave. When no one left she turned the lights back off.
An eyewitness stated that shooting began within five minutes of the birthday celebrant's mother telling those with guns to leave the building.
The party DJ said that the celebration stopped when a person carrying a gun was turned away. He said that the shooting broke out about an hour later.
According to WRBL, the shooting was thought to be the result of an altercation.
Investigators found numerous handgun shell casings at the scene.
No high-powered rifle ammunition was found.
Four people were killed and thirty-two others were injured.
Victims killed in the shooting were identified as:
- Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, 19
- Philstavious Dowdell, 18 (Dowdell was the brother of the birthday celebrant)
- Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23
- Shaunkivia Nicole Smith, 17
The Tallapoosa County school district organized for counselors to be on hand for any student who needed help in the aftermath of the shooting. Flags outside Dadeville High School were lowered to half-mast and sporting events were cancelled, and vigils were held on April 16 for the victims.
The next morning during a news conference, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said it had launched an investigation at the request of the Dadeville Police Department. Investigators also asked for any witnesses to come forward during the news conference.
Investigators recovered 89 shell casings from seven different guns at the scene.
One of the deceased, Corbin Holston, was found with a gun on his chest. Approximately sixty people were inside of the venue at the time of the shooting.
On April 18, 2023, two teenage Tuskegee,AL brothers, 17-year-old Tyreese McCullough and 16-year-old Travis McCullough, were arrested and charged with four counts of reckless murder, with more charges expected. They are being charged as adults. A third suspect, 20-year-old Wilson LaMar Hill of Auburn, is facing the same charges.
Two more suspects were arrested less than 48 hours later. The fourth suspect, 20-year-old Johnny Letron Brown of Tuskegee, AL was arrested on April 19, and the fifth suspect, 19-year-old Willie George Brown Jr. of Auburn, AL was arrested on April 20. Both men, who are cousins, faced the same charges.
A short time later, a sixth suspect, a 15-year-old male from Tuskegee, AL was arrested under the same charges on April 20, but name and bail conditions were withheld due to his age.
A suspect who was not named, was wearing an ankle monitor from a previous shooting.
In light of the attack, President Joe Biden referred to increasing gun violence in the United States as "outrageous and unacceptable", and demanded Congress enact legislation making firearm manufacturers more responsible for gun violence, prohibiting assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, requiring safe firearm storage, and requiring background checks for the sale of firearms.
Dadeville Mayor Jimmy Frank Goodman Sr., urged for calm in the days after the shooting and that he trusted authorities to track down those responsible. He also stated that the victims were just "schoolkids trying to graduate, trying to make their parents proud. It's devastating."
Jacksonville State University football coach, Rich Rodriguez, released a statement after one of the deceased victims was confirmed to have been a commit to the football team.
He offered his thoughts and prayers, and said that he and his staff were heartbroken.
The primary information source for this article was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2023_Dadeville_shooting
Photos of the accused are from the Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office.
Photo of site of the shooting, as pictured in 2019 prior to its conversion to Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio is by April Holdridge.