Corbin Holston, 23, of Dadeville; Philstavious Dowdell, 18, of Camp Hill; Marsiah Collins, 19, of Opelika, and Shaunkivia Smith, 17, of Dadeville were all killed when gunfire erupted at the party, NewsNation local affiliate WRBL reported. There were 28 people who were also injured that night — some of whom remain in critical condition.
Dowdell, a Dadeville High School senior who had committed to going to Jacksonville State University, was celebrating his sister Alexis’ 16th birthday at a downtown dance studio, his grandmother said in the Montgomery Advertiser.
“He was a very, very humble child. Never messed with anybody. Always had a smile on his face,” Annette Allen told the newspaper.
Pastor Ben Hayes, chaplain for Dadeville’s police department and local high school football team, said Dowdell had a bright future.
“He was a strong competitor on the field,” Hayes said to the Associated Press. “You didn’t want to try to tackle him or get tackled by him. But when he came off the field, he was one of the nicest young men that you could ever meet, very respectful and well-respected by his peers.”
A suspect and motive have not yet been named by authorities. President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting, and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said on social media that violent crime has no place in the state.
“This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians,” she said.
Biden, in his own statement, called on Congress to “require safe storage of firearms, require background checks for all gun sales, eliminate gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”
“What has our nation come to when children cannot attend a birthday party without fear?” Biden asked. “When parents have to worry every time their kids walk out the door to school, to the movie theater, or to the park?”
Dadeville is a community of 3,200 residents, about 57 miles northeast of Montgomery, Alabama.
NewsNation local affiliate WRBL and The Associated Press contributed to this article.