At a “Sweet 16” party for his younger sister on Saturday night in Alabama, four people died, including a high school football star and honor student who was about to graduate and play in college.
One of the best players in the state was Phil Dowdell, who recently committed to play wide receiver at Jacksonville State University, a coach told AL.com on Sunday.
According to his grieving grandmother Annette Allen, the tragic high school senior was killed at the party for his sister Alexis.
He was a child who was incredibly humble. never misbehaved towards anyone. had a smile on his face all the time,” Allen said.
Dowdell wrote on Facebook a week ago that “everyday my life go up & up, it’s hard for me to get mad.”
The same day, he posted pictures of himself and his senior prom date wearing sparkly yellow outfits, while he was dressed in shorts and a jacket that matched hers.
On Sunday morning, his sister changed her Facebook profile picture to a picture of her kissing her brother on the cheek.
KeKe Nicole Smith, a fellow senior at Dadeville High School and a former athlete, was identified as the second victim who was murdered. She was described as being “so full of love.”
In the melee, more than 20 other people were hurt, including Dowdell’s mother, who suffered two gunshot wounds, according to Allen.
According to his grandmother, Dowdell, who had a “million-dollar smile,” was preparing to graduate before enrolling at Jacksonville State on a football scholarship.
The university’s head football coach expressed his sorrow for the tragedy that claimed so many lives, including Dowdell’s, in a statement on Sunday.
Jax head coach Rich Rodriguez wrote on Twitter, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Philstavious Dowdel and the other victims of the senseless tragedy last night.”
Rodriguez wrote, “He was a great young man with a bright future.” “My staff and I are devastated, and we hope that everyone will support his family during this trying time,” said the spokesperson.
The teen excelled in track as well as basketball and track while also being an honor student, according to Michael Taylor, an assistant football, basketball, and track coach at Dadeville High.
It is a tiny town. There aren’t very many crimes like this in our country. Therefore, it’s shocking, Taylor said.
Smith, the second victim whose identity has been confirmed, managed the school’s basketball and track and field teams and participated in volleyball and softball up until her junior year, when she tore her anterior cruciate ligament.
Taylor claimed that he last saw Smith on Friday when she accompanied him to assist at an event in Troy.
Taylor told the Alex City Outlook that “she was full of love.” She was extremely modest, just like Phil, and she shared Phil’s wide smile. She was always making jokes and getting under our skin, including me. She was just brimming with life.
Similar to Dowdell, Smith also posted pictures of herself and her senior prom date outside the high school on her Facebook page.
When shots started being fired at around 10:30 p.m. at the Mohagany Masterpiece dance studio in the tiny town of Dadeville, which is located about 60 miles east of the state capital of Montgomery, at least 17 teenagers were among those injured.
Allen claimed that many parents after the shooting were unable to locate their kids and were forced to visit various hospitals in an effort to do so.
Early on Sunday, as many as 250 people gathered in front of an east Alabama hospital.
Pastor Ben Hayes, the chaplain for the Dadeville Police Department and the town’s high school football team, told AL.com that the incident was “a very sad, sad scene, a very rough night.”
Hayes continued, “One of the young men that was killed was one of our star athletes and just a great guy,” referring to Dowdell.
I therefore knew a lot of these students. Everyone in the small town of Dadeville will be impacted by this.
According to Hayes, who spoke to AL.com, “This is a good family in our community, good kids, and some of the best people heading this party.”
Hayes claims that there was some sort of argument at the time of the shooting. According to the Montgomery Advertiser, police have not provided any information about a suspect or what they believe caused the violence. They have only stated that the shooter is no longer a threat to the community.
The Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency have both provided support to the Dadeville Police Department.