DADEVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Investigators on Thursday charged a sixth person with reckless murder in connection with a deadly shooting at a Sweet 16 birthday party, saying in court documents they believe gunmen shot into the crowd during the celebration.
Investigators said in court documents filed Thursday that they believe five of those charged were present at the party on April 15 and “discharged firearms into the crowd,” resulting in the deaths of four people.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency on Thursday night announced the arrest of a 15-year-old juvenile from Tuskegee, Alabama, the sixth person charged in the case, but court records were not released because of the person’s age.
All six face reckless murder charges in connection with the fatal shooting, the state agency said.
The Sweet 16 birthday, at a dance studio just off the town square, was in full swing when gunfire erupted. Investigators have not discussed a motive or what they believe led to the shooting.
The shooting killed four young people, ranging in age from 17 to 23, and shocked the small east Alabama city of Dadeville. Besides the four slain, 32 others were injured, four of them critically.
Tyreese “Ty Reik” McCullough, 17, and Travis McCullough, 16, both of Tuskegee, were arrested Tuesday. Wilson LaMar Hill Jr., 20, of Auburn, Alabama, was arrested Wednesday. Johnny Letron Brown, 20, of Tuskegee and Willie George Brown Jr., 19, of Auburn, were arrested Thursday. All are charged with four counts of reckless murder, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said.
The district attorney said the teens will be tried as adults as required by Alabama law when anyone 16 or older is charged with murder.
All of the suspects are being held in the Tallapoosa County Jail with no bond with the exception of the 15-year-old, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said.
The birthday girl’s brother, 18-year-old Philstavious “Phil” Dowdell of Camp Hill, Alabama, died as his sister knelt beside him begging him to keep breathing. He and another fatal victim, 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole “KeKe” Smith of Dadeville, were high school seniors. Also slain were Marsiah Emmanuel “Siah” Collins, 19, of Opelika, Alabama, and Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23, of Dadeville.
The shooting was the 16th mass killing in the U.S. this year. A 17th took place in Maine on Tuesday. A total of 88 people have died in mass killings so far in 2023.
A mass killing is defined as the slaying of four or more people other than the perpetrator, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University.