Four people have been killed and 28 injured in a shooting at a teenager’s birthday party in Alabama, United States.
According to officials, an up-and-coming American football star was also killed in the incident that took place late on Saturday evening in the city of Dadeville, in Tallapoosa County – about 60 miles (100km) northeast of Alabama’s state capital Montgomery, SkyNews reports.
It was not immediately known if a suspect was in custody, but officials said the gunman was no longer a threat to the community.
Jeremy Burkett, a sergeant with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said, “We’re going to continue to work in a very methodical way to go through this scene, to look at the facts, and ensure that justice is brought to bear for the families.”
Philstavious “Phil” Dowdell was celebrating at his sister Alexis’s party before he was shot to death, his grandmother Annette Allen told The Montgomery Advertiser.
“He was a very, very humble child. Never messed with anybody. Always had a smile on his face,” Allen told the newspaper, calling it “a million-dollar smile”.
He had received offers from multiple universities but proudly declared his decision to attend Jacksonville on 1 February.
Dowdell’s mother was also hurt in the shooting.
Speaking at an earlier news briefing, Burkett confirmed the shooting was “tied to a birthday party” – and urged members of the community with information to come forward.
“There were four lives, not fatalities, lives, lost in this incident,” he said, as well as a “multitude of injuries”.
“We’re going to continue to work through in a very methodical way to go through this scene, to look at the facts and ensure that justice is brought to bear for the families. We will do that,” he added.
Dadeville’s mayor, Frank Goodman, said the scene at a nearby hospital was “chaotic”.
“There were people running around. They were crying and screaming,” he said.
“There were police cars everywhere, there were ambulances everywhere. People were trying to find out about their loved ones. That was a scene, where we never had anything like this happen in our city before.”