Deadly Shooting at Alabama Dance Studio Leaves High School Football Star Among Four Victims

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On Saturday night, a shooting occurred at a dance studio in downtown Dadeville, Alabama, leaving four dead and several others injured. The victims included Philstavious “Phil” Dowdell, a high school senior who had committed to playing football at Jacksonville State University, and his mother, who was injured in the shooting.

Police are investigating the incident and have not yet announced if a suspect is in custody or what the possible motive might be. The shooting has shocked the city of 3,200 residents, which is located approximately 57 miles northeast of Montgomery.

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Dadeville Police Chief Jonathan L. Floyd, speaking at a news conference on Sunday, struggled to maintain his composure as he addressed the tragic event. “What we’ve dealt with is something that no community should have to endure. I just ask for your patience. It’s going to be a long process, but I do earnestly solicit your prayers,” he said.

Mayor Frank Goodman recounted how he received a call from a council member just before 11 p.m. on Saturday, informing him of the shooting. He rushed to the local hospital where some of the injured were being treated, and found a chaotic scene with people running around, crying, and screaming. Goodman said he had never witnessed anything like this in his city before.

Most of the victims were teenagers, according to Pastor Ben Hayes, who serves as chaplain for the Dadeville Police Department and the local high school football team. Dowdell was weeks away from graduation and had a promising future, having recently won medals at a high school track meet at Troy University.

Jacksonville State football coach Rich Rodriguez expressed his condolences in a statement, saying: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Philstavious Dowdell and the other victims of the senseless tragedy last night. He was 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.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also issued a statement, expressing her grief and promising to stay closely updated on the situation. President Joe Biden was briefed on the shooting and called for action to address the ongoing issue of gun violence in America.

The tragedy has left the city of Dadeville devastated and traumatized. Counseling services will be available for students at Tallapoosa County schools on Monday, according to Superintendent Raymond C. Porter. Meanwhile, investigators continue to gather evidence at the dance studio, seeking answers about what led to this senseless act of violence.

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