By Mimi Nguyen Ly
Police in Alabama on April 16 were investigating a shooting that left four people dead and 28 others injured at a gathering in Dadeville, about 57 miles northeast of Montgomery.
The shooting happened at a dance studio birthday party on April 15 around 10:30 p.m. local time.
“There were four lives tragically lost in this incident,” Sgt. Jeremy Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said during a news conference on April 16.
During two news conferences Sunday, Burkett did not take questions. He did not say if a suspect was in custody or if investigators knew about any motivation.
Pastor Ben Hayes, who serves as the chaplain for the Dadeville Police Department and for the local high school football team, said most of the victims are teenagers because the shooting occurred at a birthday party for a 16-year-old.
“One of the young men that was killed was one of our star athletes and just a great guy,” he said. “So I knew many of these students. Dadeville is a small town and this is going to affect everybody in this area.”
Investigators on Sunday continued filing in and out of the Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio, denoted by a banner hanging on the outside of a one-story brick building just off the square. Less than a block away, the American and Alabama flags were lowered to half staff outside the Tallapoosa County Courthouse.
“This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians. Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement posted on social media.
President Joe Biden has been briefed on the shooting, the White House said, adding that it was closely monitoring the situation and had been in touch with local officials and law enforcement to offer support.
The same night, in Louisville, Kentucky, two people died and four others were injured after shots were fired into a crowd of hundreds of people gathered at Chickasaw Park.
Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, a shooting on the campus of Lincoln University in Chester County on the same night prompted the university to lock down. Two people were injured and were taken to an area hospital for treatment, while the suspect was still at large as of early on April 16.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.