Alabama sweet 16 birthday party became latest mass deadly shooting

Published 9:32 am Sunday, April 16, 2023

At least four people were killed and potentially many more wounded overnight in a sweet 16 birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama, that turned deadly Saturday.

Police said the shooting occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. Saturday night.

Media reports that the shooting happened at a dance studio in Dadeville called the Mahogany’s Masterpiece.

Police early Sunday confirmed at least four people were killed and many more wounded, but police have not reported the ages of the killed or wounded.

Social media commenters indicated that most were teenagers who were attending the party and that dozens were reportedly wounded and taken to area hospitals. Those reports were unconfirmed.

Senior Pastor Dr. Ben Hayes of the First Baptist Church Dadeville wrote on social media that he’d been with grieving parents into the wee hours of the morning.

“My heart is broken today,” Hayes wrote. “I stood outside of Lake Martin Hospital until 3 a.m. watching hearts break as families learned that their child had been shot — or even worse, dead.”

“I talked with parents, educators, students. My football players. Our pastors from First Baptist Church. No one knew what to say. Everyone was in shock. Police officers with looks of sadness on their faces. Nothing prepares you for this. Now, in just a couple of hours, I will stand in the pulpit of First Baptist Church Dadeville and preach about the power of Jesus — about the miracles He performed. But let me share this with you: the miracle is always in the ministry, and He has given us a calling to minister to broken, hurting people.”

“So, church, I need you to rise up and join me as we show our community that God is still in control. That He has the power to heal broken hearts and to change lives. If we want the violence and evil to stop, then we must kneel in prayer and then stand and fight this battle with the weapons of our warfare. This battle cannot be won if we don’t work to change the hearts and lives of our children and our youth.”