At least 4 people were killed in a shooting at a teen’s birthday party in Alabama


Kyle Gassiott/Troy Public Radio

Updated April 16, 2023 at 12:35 PM ET

At least four people were killed and multiple others were wounded after a shooting at a birthday party on Saturday night in the city of Dadeville, Ala.

The attack took place at the Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio just after 10:30 p.m. local time as people gathered for a Sweet 16 celebration. Heidi Smith, the marketing director of Ivy Creek Healthcare, which runs a hospital in Dadeville, said the hospital treated at least 15 gunshot victims.

Smith said at least 17 ambulances responded to the scene. Some victims were treated and released from the Lake Martin Community Hospital, while several additional victims were transferred to other hospitals — including flown to a trauma center in Birmingham, she added.

There were “multiple injuries,” according to a statement from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, which said it had launched an investigation at the request of the Dadeville police chief.

As of Sunday morning, authorities had not provided any details about a motive or the number of suspects involved.

Annette Allen said that it was her granddaughter’s 16th birthday party where the attack occurred. Allen’s grandson, a high school athlete, was killed by the gunfire, while her daughter was wounded and sent to an area hospital.

“This is a small community and they just wanted to enjoy the birthday party,” Allen told NPR’s member station Troy Public Radio. “We had to be standing and waiting for bodies to brought out.”

Dadeville is a small city with a population of approximately 3,000 people. It’s located about an hour’s drive from the state capital of Montgomery.

At a press conference on Sunday morning, the Dadeville Police Chief, Jonathan Floyd, described the town as a “tightknit community full of wonderful people.”

The superintendent of the Tallapoosa County Schools, Raymond Porter, said counselors would be at various campuses tomorrow to offer support to students — adding that kids will suffer the most from the recent tragedy.

“This does not represent our community or our children,” Porter added.

Authorities have not yet released details about the victims or their ages. But the shooting at the sweet 16 birthday party comes as firearms have become the leading killer of children in the U.S. In 2020, gun violence overtook car accidents as the leading cause of death in people 19 years old or younger.

There have been 163 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, not including the attack in Dadeville, according to the independent group Gun Violence Archive. The group defines a mass shooting as any event in which there were four or more victims, excluding the shooter. The Saturday attack comes less than a week after a gunman opened fire at a bank in Louisville, Ky. killing five people and injuring nine others.

President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, according to the White House, which said Biden and his team have been in contact with local authorities to offer support and are closely monitoring the situation.

Gov. Kay Ivey tweeted on Sunday morning that she was grieving the events in Dadeville, but did not provide further detail on what transpired.

“This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians. Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge,” Ivey said.

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