Family, friends mourn lives lost in Dadeville shooting

The four young people killed in a mass shooting in Dadeville are now identified. They are:

  • Marsiah Collins, 19, from Opelika
  • Corbin Holston, 23, from Dadeville
  • KeKe Smith, 17, a senior at Dadeville High School
  • Philstavious Dowdell, 18, a senior at Dadeville High School

Thirty-two people were injured.

“He was everything you’d want in a son,” said Philstavious Dowdell’s mother Latonya Allen. “He always did everything to make me happy.”

Philstavious was a star football player at Dadeville High School. He had a scholarship to Jacksonville State University where he planned to attend this fall.

The shooting happened shortly after 10:30 Saturday night inside a crowded Dadeville dance studio during a Sweet 16 birthday party.

Wednesday morning, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced two teenagers were arrested and are facing charges in the shooting. Their names have not yet been released because of Alabama law, but they will be charged as adults.

“All I remember is my brother grabbing me and pushing me down to the ground,” Dowdell’s sister Alexis said. It was her birthday party.

“They were shooting,” Alexis said. “I picked my brother up and turned him over and told him,’ you’re fine, you’re going to make it, you’re strong, don’t give up on me.’ The ambulance people have arrived and I asked them if they could come check my brother’s pulse. They checked it and said he was gone.”

Gone but not forgotten.

“Phil just told me about a month ago, ‘Coach, if anything ever happens to me, even when I go to college, take care of my two sisters,’ ” Dadeville High School Football Coach Mike Taylor said. “I never dreamed that he was talking about this.”

Allen said she addressed rumors of a gun at her daughter’s party earlier in the night before the shooting happened.

“I got on the mic and said, ‘If anyone has a gun, you need to leave because we are here to celebrate Alexis’ Sweet 16. We are not here for no drama or anything,’ ” Allen said.

The Dadeville shooting is one of the largest mass shootings in Alabama history.

“It was a nightmare,” she said. “A nightmare that I don’t wish on any parent. To go in and to see my baby laying there in a puddle of blood.”

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