At least four people were killed in a shooting at a birthday party in Alabama

At least four people were killed and at least 15 teenagers injured in a shooting at a birthday party in an Alabama town Saturday night, officials said.

Sergeant Jeremy Burkett, a spokesman for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, said at a news conference Sunday that the Dadeville shooting happened around 10:34 p.m

“It’s going to be a long, complicated process,” said Burkett, who gave no details on who opened fire and why. Officials did not answer questions at the press conference.

Filming took place at the Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio, The Montgomery Advertiser reported. Dadeville is about 60 miles northeast of Montgomery and about 3,000 people live there.

The studio hosted Zumba and line dancing classes for kids and teens and had been rehearsing for a dance show celebrating its second anniversary on April 29, according to its Facebook page. A representative of the studio could not be reached immediately on Sunday.

After ambulances overwhelmed the congregation Saturday night, residents battled the shooting Sunday morning, which took place at a sweet-16 celebration, said Ben Hayes, the senior pastor of Dadeville First Baptist Church.

Philstavious Dowdell, a Dadeville High School football player known as Phil and committed to Jacksonville State University, was one of those killed, the pastor said.

Hayes is also the chaplain of the city’s police department and the chaplain of the high school football team. “Everyone knows everyone, so that was pretty tough,” he said.

At least 15 teenagers have been treated for gunshot wounds, said Heidi Smith, a spokeswoman for Lake Martin Community Hospital in Dadeville.

She said nine of the teenagers were transferred to another hospital for better care and five of those nine were in critical condition. Seventeen ambulances were at the scene after the shooting, Smith said.

Officials did not reveal the age of the victims.

Tallapoosa County Board of Education Superintendent Raymond Porter said at the press conference that schools would advise students Monday. “We will make every effort to comfort these children,” Porter said.

President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting, and he and his associates have been in touch with local law enforcement and local officials to offer assistance, White House officials said.

Justin Scaccy

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