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The New Daily
The New Daily
Brendan O'Brien

Teens charged with murder over birthday party shooting

Investigators working the crime scene at a dance studio in Dadeville, Alabama. Photo: Getty

Three Alabama youths have been charged with murder over a shooting at a “Sweet 16” birthday party that left four dead and 32 wounded.

Two suspects – Ty Reik McCullough, 17, and Travis McCullough, 16 – both from Tuskegee, were arrested on Tuesday night and charged with four counts of reckless murder, Sergeant Jeremy Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency told reporters on Wednesday.

The agency said a few hours later a third person had been arrested.

Wilson LaMar Hill Jr, 20, of Auburn, was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon and charged with four counts of reckless murder, the agency said in a statement.

The shooting on Saturday took place at the Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio in Dadeville, a community of 3200 people about 80 kilometres northeast of Montgomery.

“Make no mistake. This is Alabama and when you pull out a gun and you start shooting people, we’re going to put you in jail,” Burkett said.

“We’re tired of going to mothers and having to tell them these kids aren’t coming home.”

Of the nine injured who were still in hospital, five were in critical condition, Lake Martin Community Hospital spokeswoman Heidi Smith told reporters on Monday.

Three teenagers and a 23-year-old man were killed in the shooting.

One was a high school football player who was among those attending his sister’s birthday party.

The Montgomery Advertiser newspaper, quoting the victim’s grandmother, identified the slain teenager as Phil Dowdell, who she said was set to graduate in a matter of weeks and planned to attend Jacksonville State University on a football scholarship.

The other deceased victims were identified as Shaunkivia Smith, 17, Marsiah Collins, 19, and Corbin Holston, 23.

The shooting followed separate outbreaks of deadly gun violence in Tennessee and Kentucky that prompted local leaders to call for tighter gun control measures.

Mass shootings have become commonplace in the US, with at least 165 so far in 2023, the most at this point in the year since at least 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

The nonprofit group defines a mass shooting as any in which four or more people are wounded or killed, not including the shooter.


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