UPDATED-- Alabama lawmen charge third suspect in Dadeville birthday shooting
UPDATED— Alabama lawmen have charged a third suspect in Saturday's birthday shooting in Dadeville. Wilson LaMar Hill, junior of Auburn with four counts of reckless murder. That's in addition to the two suspects charged, according to this report from The Associated Press.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency says three (up from two this morning) teenagers have been arrested following Saturday’s shooting in Dadeville. An ALEA release identifies seventeen year old Ty Reik McCollough, and sixteen year old Travis McCullough, both of Tuskegee, as the suspects. The two face four counts of reckless murder, as adults. Fifth Circuit District Attorney Mike Segrest says that doesn’t include charges related to the thirty-two people who were injured in the attack at a sweet sixteen birthday party. Local lawmen continue to ask for patience from the press and the public as the investigation continues.
The Associated Press reports the shootings Saturday night rocked the small town of Dadeville, about 80 miles southeast of Birmingham, and families suddenly found themselves planning memorials and burial services instead of graduation parties or college move-ins.
A relative of one teen killed in the shooting told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the family, which has been briefed by officials, understands that the investigation is progressing.
"They are working very hard and are adamant about apprehending those who are responsible for the tragic event," said Amy Jackson, whose cousin KeKe Smith was among the dead.
The four people killed were: Philstavious "Phil" Dowdell, 18, a senior at Dadeville High School senior and star wide receiver who had planned to play college football in the fall; fellow Dadeville High senior Shaunkivia Nicole "KeKe" Smith, 17, a track and multisport athlete-turned-team manager; 2022 Opelika High School graduate Marsiah Emmanuel "Siah" Collins, 19, an aspiring singer who also planned to start college this fall; and 2018 Dadeville High graduate Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23, another former athlete at the school.
"I'm speechless. I'm numb. I really can't believe that Marsiah is gone," Shirley "Shunte" Jones, Collins' mother, said at a candlelight vigil, according to the Opelika-Auburn News.
"I never thought I would have to bury my child. ... I thought my child's supposed to bury me," Jones continued.
Holston's mother, Janett Heard, told AL.com that he had gone to the party to check on a younger family member who feared trouble. Relatives told the news outlet the shooting began shortly after Holston arrived and he pulled his younger relative to safety.
Lawmakers held a moment of silence Tuesday on the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives.
"It is a sad day for the state when something so senseless happens. Our hearts go out to the families and friends who lost loved ones in this attack," state Rep. Ed Oliver of Dadeville said. He added that they were calling on people "to continue to pray for healing and recovery for the community."
Members of the Legislative Black Caucus said it is time for the state to address gun violence in Alabama, which in 2020 had the fifth-highest rate of gun deaths in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Caucus members, who hold a minority of seats in the GOP-controlled Legislature, spoke at a funeral home owned by Smith's grandfather.
"I am tired of hearing the wails and the cries of parents and families that have lost their loved ones, and elected officials have not acted," Democratic state Sen. Merika Coleman said.
Investigators are asking people to come forward with any videos or photos from the party. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said it has worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to establish a digital tip line for such submissions.