At least four people have been killed and 28 injured in a mass shooting that took place at a 16th birthday party at the Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio in Dadeville, Alabama. Shots were fired causing some critical injuries, and a number of teenagers were among the victims. Phil Dowdell, high school senior and a star athlete, was named as one of the victims by local media sources. The US has now exceeded 160 mass shootings to take place this year in which four or more people have been shot. In a statement released by the White House on Sunday, President Joe Biden expressed his grief and renewed his calls for tighter gun laws in the US.
Although Dadeville is a small rural city with a population of only 3,200, there has been an alarming rise in the number of shootings recorded this year; this latest incident marks a significant milestone. Despite the severity and impact of the mass shooting, very little has been reported about possible suspects, and minimal details have been released about how the shooting was stopped, or whether anyone is currently in custody. Sgt Jeremy Burkett has insisted on a thorough and methodical investigation process to uncover the facts and bring justice to bear.
At the local parking lot where a vigil was held, teenagers were visibly shocked and shaken; many shared hugs and tears as they tried to comfort one another. One woman attending the vigil, Shondra, reported her cousin was present at the birthday party and explained that “they were being free, they were celebrating a life…you never think it’s going to happen in your area”.
Alabama is renowned for protecting the citizen’s right to own guns, and Governor Kay Ivey’s statement has been criticised on social media, with users calling for reform of the gun laws. Governor Ivey is pro-second amendment rights, and last year signed legislation ruling an end to the need for citizens to obtain permits to carry concealed handguns in public. Her campaigning was supported by the National Rifle Association.
President Biden has called for common-sense gun safety reforms to be put into effect and rates the increasing number of mass shootings as both outrageous and unacceptable.