Alabama Shooting

A makeshift memorial is created at the scene of the fatal shooting at a dance studio on Wednesday in Dadeville, Ala. Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP

DADEVILLE, Ala. — Investigators said five people charged in a deadly shooting at Sweet 16 birthday party had fired guns into the crowd at the celebration.

Investigators wrote in court documents filed Thursday that they believe the five were present at the party and “discharged firearms into the crowd” resulting in the deaths of four people. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced two additional arrests on Thursday, for a total of five people facing facing reckless murder charges in connection with the fatal shooting.

The shooting at the Sweet 16 birthday killed four young people, ranging in age from 17 to 23 and shocked the small east Alabama city of Dadeville. Besides the four slain, 32 others were injured, four of them critically. The party, at a dance studio just off the town square, was in full swing when gunfire erupted. Investigators have not discussed a motive or what they believe led to the shooting.

Tyreese “Ty Reik”, 17, of Tuskegee and Travis McCullough, 16, of Tuskegee were arrested Tuesday. Wilson LaMar Hill Jr., 20, of Auburn, was arrested Wednesday. and Johnny Letron Brown, 20, of Tuskegee and Willie George Brown Jr., 19, of Auburn, were arrested Thursday. All are charged with four counts of reckless murder, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said.

The district attorney said the teens will be tried as adults as required by Alabama law when anyone 16 or older is charged with murder.

All of the suspects are being held in the Tallapoosa County Jail with no bond.

The birthday girl’s brother, 18-year-old Philstavious “Phil” Dowdell of Camp Hill, died as his sister knelt beside him begging him to keep breathing. He and another fatal victim, 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole “KeKe” Smith of Dadeville, were high school seniors. Also slain were Marsiah Emmanuel “Siah” Collins, 19, of Opelika, and Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23, of Dadeville.

The shooting was the 16th mass killing in the U.S. this year. A 17th took place in Maine on Tuesday. A total of 88 people have died in mass killings so far in 2023.

A mass killing is defined as the slaying of four or more people other than the perpetrator, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.

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