‘Why Won’t Anybody Tell Us Anything?’: Residents of Alabama Town Devastated By Birthday Party Shooting That Left 4 Dead, 28 Wounded Question Lack of Transparency In Aftermath

Days after an April 15 mass shooting at an Alabama teen’s birthday party, local police have shared limited information regarding any possible suspects.

The shooting killed four people and wounded 28 others, and now the community asking why it is taking law enforcement so long to provide basic answers.

The Dadeville Police Department and Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office are working together on the case. The two local law enforcement agencies are with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI to investigate the crime.

Sgt. Jeremy Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency hosted three news conferences since Saturday, each time asking for the public to come forward with any information regarding the shooting in Dadeville, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.

DADEVILLE, AL – APRIL 16: Pastor Fred Hutcherson speaks as community members hold a prayer event following a shooting at the Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio on April 16, 2023 in Dadeville, Alabama. According to reports, at least four people were killed and others injured in a shooting during a birthday party at the dance studio on Saturday night. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

“Even the smallest detail can be important,” Burkett stated during a Sunday public check-in.

However, officials took no questions from reporters and did not provide basic details in the case until Monday afternoon. Some residents voiced their concerns over why those hired to protect and serve aren’t further along in their probe.

Dadeville native Erica Jackson told reporters she was confused about what is being done to make arrests.

“I was hoping to hear that they had the people responsible. We need to know. Are they still out there? Why won’t anybody tell us anything?” Jackson asked.

 Teneeshia Johnson told NPR during a candlelight vigil on Sunday night that she was frustrated that authorites weren’t saying more.

According to police, Dadeville is one municipality in Alabama that does not have a public safety emergency plan in place for situations like this. This may have hindered the town ability to respond to one of America’s 162nd mass shootings since the top of 2023.

Police have not dropped a “be on the lookout” or BOLO with suspect descriptions, and other agencies say they have not received, according to sources, information regarding the shooting.

The shooting comes almost a week after another mass shooting in the United States. On Monday, April 10, a Louisville Old National Bank was shot up, killing five of its employees.

In this incident, law enforcement acted promptly to take down the shooter, CNN reports with the help of the public. In fact, the mother of the shooter, Connor Sturgeon, turned him in. Sturgeon’s mom called 911 to report her son had left a note stating his intentions and was on his way to the bank with a gun.

Officers were able to respond, tragically only after the young killed his five co-workers and shot one of their own in the head responding to the crisis. The prompt response is attributed to the city’s working emergency operations — which are reportedly not active in Dadeville, a majority-Black town of less than 3,000 people.

Figures from the Gun Violence Archive say the number of mass shootings has gone up significantly in recent years. Since 2020, there have been 600 mass shootings, averaging approximately two a day over the last three years.

Statistics show that since 2006, there have been 546 mass shootings resulting in the deaths of 2,838 people.

As many in the city mourn, WSFA 12 News reports, the tone outside of the dance studio where the shooting happened is “somber,” particularly as officials “removed the crime scene tape surrounding” the area and shared the names of those who lost their lives.

The names of the four casualties from the shooting were released on Monday afternoon: Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23; Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, 19; Philstavious Dowdell, 18; and Shaunkivia (KeKe) Nicole Smith, 17.

Dadeville’s police chief asked for “patience” with the investigation on Monday and for witnesses to come forward with pictures or information that could help solve the case.

“I cannot stress this enough: We absolutely need you to share it,” Sgt. Jeremy J. Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said.

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