A high school football standout was among four killed in a mass shooting in small-town Alabama where more than 20 people were shot at a Sweet 16 celebration for the victim's sister.
Philstavious Dowdell, a senior set to graduate in a matter of weeks, had been celebrating his sister Alexis' birthday Saturday nightat Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio in Dadeville when the first shots rang out following what cops suspect was a fight.
The teen was awarded a full scholarship to Jacksonville State back this past February, and is the first victim to be formally identified.
Earlier in the day, state investigators probing the shooting confirmed in a statement that there had been four fatalities, though an ensuing press conference provided few new developments - such as a prospective motive or potential suspect.
On Sunday, Dowdell's grandmother, Annette Allen, revealed her grandson was among more than 20 attendees said to have been struck by the hail of gunfire, along with the boy's mother, who survived.
In an interview, Allen remembered her grandson as a kind-hearted individual who never caused trouble for anyone, while shedding light on the still-shrouded incident. Cops did not reveal Sunday whether a suspect was in custody.
Phil Dowdell, A high school football standout in Dadeville, Alabama, was among four killed in a mass shooting Saturday - an incident that saw more than 20 shot at a Sweet 16 celebration held by the victim's sister
The teen (at middle) was awarded a full scholarship to Jacksonville State back this past February, and is the first victim to be formally identified
While details concerning the incident are still sparse, officials have confirmed that the gunfire erupted at roughly 10:34pm Saturday at the Mahogany Masterpiece on North Broadnax Street
Cops did not provide an update Sunday on the condition of Dowdell's younger sister Alexis (pictured), whose birthday party was interrupted by the rage of gunfire
'He was a very, very humble child,'Allen told the Montgomery Advertiser moments after theAlabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) confirmed the death toll in a statement Sunday morning.
'Never messed with anybody. Always had a smile on his face.'
Speaking to the local paper, Allen described her slain grandson's grin as 'a million-dollar smile', and confirmed he had been attending the party held by his sister Alexis - also a student at the local high school - for her 16th birthday.
The children's mother was also there and she sustained two gunshot wounds, Allen said.
'They was here celebrating it,' Allen added of Alexis' birthday. 'Everybody's grieving.'
Officials confirmed that the gunfire erupted at roughly 10:34pm Saturday at the Mahogany Masterpiece converted dance studio in downtown Dadeville on North Broadnax Street.
Local police initially did not provide any updates as to the number of victims or those injuredfor more than 10 hours, until an update from the ALEA around 9 a.m. revealed four in total had died.
Witness accounts earlier in the day indicated at least 20 attendees were shot - with Allen Sunday morning adding that parents seen still crowding local hospitals after waiting outside all night still do not know where their children are.
Dowdell, a senior set to graduate in a matter of weeks, had been celebrating his sister Alexis' (seen with the victim at left) birthday Saturday night at Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio in Dadeville when the first shots rang out - following what police suspect was a fight
The teen (at middle) is the first victim to be formally identified. He is seen committing to the school with a signing accompanied by his family - including his sister, seen second from right
Dowdell, who also ran track and played basketball, is being remembered by relatives as a kind-hearted individual who never caused trouble for anyone
The shooting took place Dadeville, a tiny town of 3,000 an hour's drive from Montgomery
Local police initially did not provide any updates as to the number of victims or those injured for more than 10 hours, until an update from the ALEA around 9am revealed four had died
On Sunday morning, the crime scene remained cordoned off - with a tarp hanging over the glass front door of the dance establishment on N. Broadnax Street
Witness accounts indicate that most of those injured were teenagers, with Dadeville cops initially airing the belief the attack stemmed from some sort of physical altercation
Dowdell (center), seen here after a track event earlier this year, had been awarded a full football scholarship this past February.He was also an honor student, his coach revealed, who played basketball and won state honors in track last year
The Superintendent of Tallapoosa County, the district that presides over the siblings' school, confirmed Sunday that local students had attended the party
Officials confirmed that several were injured and four dead as a result of the gunfire erupted at roughly 10:34pm, but have yet to identify Dodwell (pictured) as a victim
Let’s work🐔❤️@Coach_DiAngelo @JaxStateFB @CoachRGarrett @HallTechSports1 @DexPreps pic.twitter.com/NGQYFsjDaD— Philstavious Dowdell (@philstavious) February 1, 2023
She said they are currently going from hospital to hospital trying to find their loved ones, as cops held a conference calling for members of the community of roughly 3,000 people to remain strong.
The conference, however, did not offer any new details on the victims or a prospective shooter, with state investigators tasked with vetting the case alluding that they have an arduous investigation ahead of them.
'This is going to be a long, complicated process,' ALEA spokesman Sgt. Jeremy Burkett told reporters, adding that the scene is still being processed and that a methodical investigation will be conducted.
Neither Burkett nor other officers present provided any update as to a suspect, and would not reveal whether any arrests had been made.
Allen, meanwhile, did not divulge any details concerning the condition of Dowdell's mother, just saying that she sustained two gunshot wounds.
The woman did not provide any information on the current condition of Alexis, the one whose party was interrupted by the rage of gunfire.
Witness accounts indicate that most of those injured were teenagers, with Dadeville cops initially airing the belief the attack stemmed from some sort of physical altercation.
The Superintendent of Tallapoosa County, the district that presides over theDowdells' school, confirmed to AL.com Sunday that local students had attended the party.
The town's police department, meanwhile, revealed Sunday that they had already handed the investigation to the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, due to the magnitude and possible implications of the death investigation.
Joe Biden has reportedly been briefed on the shooting, as well as the state's governor.
Both the White House andGov. Kay Ivey issued statements Sunday decrying the attack, as new developments continue to come to light.
The scene was still markedly less hectic then the night before, when an assortment of first responders descended on several blocks surrounding the dance studio
The shooting happened around 10:30pm Saturday at Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio in Dadeville, state officials said in an update Sunday, revealing there has been four fatalities
At least 20 people were shot, some fatally, while attending the party in Dadeville. Pictured: A police cordon outside Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio Saturday night
'This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians,' Gov. Ivey said in a tweet. 'Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge.'
A White House official added that the president has already been been briefed on the shooting, and is 'monitoring the situation.'
Witnesses reported several people running and screaming from the scene - and an unverified disturbing photo currently circulating online appears to show victims lying on the ground of venue.
Some have called for the post to be deleted, though its authenticity has yet to confirmed. It caused the small townan hour's drive from Montgomery to trend on social media.
Meanwhile, relatives of those hospitalized were seen waiting Sunday morning for a more concrete update.
'The investigation is a result of a shooting which occurred at approximately 10:34 pm near the 200 Block of Broadnax Street in Dadeville, located in Tallapoosa County,'ALEA said in the first official update on the shooting.
'The following agencies responded to the scene and are currently assisting with the investigation: The Dadeville Police Department, Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office, Bureau of Alcohol, the Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the 5 Circuit District Attorney's Office,' it revealed.
'Nothing further is available as the investigation is ongoing.'
When contacted Sunday, the county's coroner would not confirm whether any minors were among those killed.
On Sunday morning, the crime scene remained cordoned off - with a tarp hangingover the glass front door of the dance establishment on N. Broadnax Street.
Inside the establishment, onlookers reported seeing white sheets lining the floors, while photos showed police placards littering the front sidewalk.
The scene was still markedly less hectic then the night before, when an assortment of first responders descended on several blocks surrounding the dance studio.
Dadeville Police, the Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office, and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's State Bureau of Investigation, and several others were among the several agencies seen at the scene on Saturday night.
It is still unclear whether police have made any arrests - though victims were transported to local hospitals including Russell Medical Center in Alexander City for medical attention, according to witnesses.
Tallapoosa Death Investigation Press Statement pic.twitter.com/jV2UCEfE6X— Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (@ALEAprotects) April 16, 2023
A large crowd was seen outside the emergency room in Dadeville as casualties were rushed in
— #DextrousNinja (@Ninja0179048354) April 16, 2023
Deadly Mass Shooting at Teen's Party in #Alabama 🇺🇸
A situation unfolding in Dadeville has a large police presence at the site of what's being called a tragic mass shooting. (Unverified video)
Unconfirmed details say at least 06 people dead, as many as 30 children injured pic.twitter.com/TDGY2PAOgu
Marketing officials forRussell Medical toldAlexander City Outlookthey had received an influx of patients at roughly midnight Sunday, and had been issued an directive that they would be caring for several victims relating to the shooting shortly before.
'At probably midnight, I was notified that we would be receiving patients into our hospital,' Susan Foy told the paper.
'And it would appear that we were going to have several patients coming. From what I understand, there were quite a few people involved.' She added she could speak an exact number of victims.
Meanwhile, Michael Taylor, Dowdell's coach on the Dadeville high school football, track, and basketball teams, was seen on the scene this morning, telling AL.com thatDowdell, a slot receiver, was one of the best football players in the state.
He was also an honor student, the coach revealed, who played basketball and won state honors in track last year.
The Alexander City Outlook reported the teen recently beat out other runners at theTroy Invitational, placing first in the 100 dash and second in the 200 dash.
On Sunday around 2pm, as reports unveiling Dowdell as one of the four victims began to circulate, The Jacksonville State Football team issued its own statement mourning the would-bemember of their program.
'Our Thoughts and prayers are with the family of Philstavious Dowdell and the other victims of the senselesstragedy last night,' the team wrote in a post to Twitter that's since been viewed nearly 12,000 times.
He wad a great young man with a bright future. My staff and I are heartbroken and hope that everyone will support his family through this difficult time.
— Jax State Football (@JaxStateFB) April 16, 2023
Jax State Football is heartbroken to have lost an upcoming member of our program.
Statement from Head Football Coach @RealCoachRod pic.twitter.com/3ta5nposOP(Video) Alabama birthday party shooting leaves 4 dead, at least 20 injured