In the wake of a devastating shooting Saturday night at a Sweet 16 party in Dadeville, Alabama, two teenagers have been arrested and charged in connection with the incident, which left four people dead and 32 others injured.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) announced Wednesday that a 17–year–old and 16–year–old, both from Tuskegee, Alabama, have been charged with four counts of reckless murder. The pair, who share the same last name, are expected to appear in court for a bond hearing by Friday.
“When I tell you that this is just the tip of the iceberg … we’re going to make sure every one of those victims has justice and not just the deceased,” District Attorney Mike Segrest said during a press conference.
The shooting happened Saturday night at a dance studio in Dadeville, a small town of about 3,000 people, where the Sweet 16 birthday party was being held for a teenager named Alexis Dowdell.
The four victims who died have been identified as Philstavious Dowdell, Alexis Dowdell’s 18–year–old brother; Shaunkivia Nicole “Keke” Smith, 17; Marsiah Emmanuel “Siah” Collins, 19; and Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23, according to AL.com.
Alexis Dowdell told the Associated Press her brother, Philstavious, died in her arms after he tried to push her out of the dance studio. “I wasn’t crying at the moment because I was trying to be strong instead of panicking. And so I said, ‘You’re going to be all right. You’re a fighter, you’re strong,’” she recalled.
Thirty–two others were injured in the attack. ALEA said at least four victims remain in critical condition.
Officials have yet to release a motive as the investigation is ongoing, but ALEA said there were shell casings from handguns found at the scene.
A number of law enforcement agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, and the U.S. Marshals Service, have been instrumental in assisting the investigation, along with locating and apprehending the suspects.
ALEA said more charges may be filed and a grand jury could be recalled in the coming months.
The horrific incident has rocked the small town of Dadeville, which is still reeling from the tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.