Dadeville, AL

Tragedy at the Dance Studio: Dadeville Mass Shooting Turns Birthday Celebration into Nightmare

Reynold Aquino

As the sun rose over Alabama on Sunday, law enforcement continued their investigation into the horrific mass shooting that took place on Saturday night at the Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio in downtown Dadeville. The former Bank of Dadeville building at 220 N. Broadnax St. was converted into a dance studio two years ago, and authorities spent the night meticulously examining the crime scene for evidence.

A group of teenagers had gathered at the venue to celebrate a birthday when the gunfire erupted around 10:30 p.m. For over eight hours, officials remained tight-lipped about the details of the shooting, the victims, and any potential suspects. The tragic event quickly gained traction on social media, with users sharing images and videos from the scene, including a chilling photo showing six people collapsed inside the studio.

At a nearby hospital, anxious family members awaited updates on their injured loved ones, with some social media users capturing videos of the tense scene. Phil Dowdell, a high school senior with a football scholarship to Jacksonville State, was among the victims killed during the attack. Dowdell had been celebrating his sister Alexis' sweet 16 birthday party when the tragedy unfolded.

Annette Allen, Dowdell's grandmother, described him as a humble, kind-hearted individual with a "million-dollar smile." Alongside Dowdell, several teenagers and his mother, who sustained two gunshot wounds, were also shot during the party. Another victim killed in the mass shooting was identified as Ke Nicole.

Parents across the community are desperately searching for their children, visiting hospitals to find any information on their whereabouts. Allen confirmed that the shooting took place during Alexis' birthday celebration and called for prayers for the county and surrounding areas.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) released a statement around 8:30 a.m., confirming at least four deaths in the Dadeville mass shooting. The statement acknowledged multiple injuries but did not provide specific numbers. ALEA is set to investigate the incident at the request of the Dadeville police chief.

Ashley Hill, an Opelika resident, rushed to downtown Dadeville with two other women to check on a family friend's safety. She expressed grief for the teenagers who had gathered to celebrate a birthday and lamented the violence that had shattered their lives. Hill noted that while Dadeville is a small town with a population of just over 3,000, this is not the first time it has experienced a mass shooting. On August 28, 2016, a gunman injured five people at a party at the American Legion Hall.

In response to the latest tragedy, police have cordoned off several blocks near the crime scene, including portions of North Broadnax Street and Cusseta Street, which are home to various professional services, a furniture store, PNC Bank, and the Tallapoosa County Courthouse.

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Hi there! My name is Reynold Aquino and I am a passionate writer and traveler. I have always had a love for the written word and enjoy expressing myself through writing. In my free time, you can find me either planning my next adventure or trying out new restaurants and cuisines. I believe that life is meant to be lived to the fullest and I try to make the most of every moment. Whether I am exploring a new city or penning a new story, I am always seeking new experiences and challenges. I hope to inspire others to follow their passions and seek out new adventures, just like I do.


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