Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

Fifth arrest made in Alabama birthday shooting

(NewsNation) — Investigators made a fifth arrest Thursday in connection to a shooting at a sweet sixteen birthday party that left four people dead over the weekend in Dadeville, Alabama.

Five people each face four counts of reckless murder charges linked to the shooting.

Johnny Letron Brown, 20, of Tuskegee, and Willie George Brown Jr., 19, of Auburn, were taken into custody Thursday. Tyrese “Ty Reik” McCullough, 17, of Tuskegee, and Travis McCullough, 16 of Tuskegee, were arrested Tuesday. Wilson LaMar Hill Jr., 20, of Auburn, was arrested Wednesday.

The sweet sixteen party on April 15 was in full swing at a dance studio near the town’s square when gunfire erupted. Four people, ranging in age from 17 to 23, died in the shooting. 32 others received injuries, four of them critical.

Eighteen-year-old Philstavious “Phil” Dowdell of Camp Hill, the birthday girl’s brother, died while his sister begged him to keep breathing.

“There’s an uncut cake and unburned 16 candles that never got lit,” Mike Segrest, District Attorney for the Fifth Judicial Circuit of Alabama, said. “(Her) brother is one of the victims. At her sixteenth birthday party she knelt by her brother as he took his last breath. That’s what we’re dealing with here… The message that I want to send… don’t mess with our kids.”

Dowdell and another fatal victim, 17-year-old Shaunkivia Nicole “KeKe” Smith of Dadeville, were high school seniors. Marsiah Emmanuel “Siah” Collins, 19, of Opelika, and Corbin Dahmontrey Holston, 23, of Dadeville, also died in the shooting.

According to the district attorney, those charged with the shooting deaths will be tried as adults, as required by Alabama law when anyone 16 or older is facing a murder charge. Prosecutors previously said they plan to ask a judge to hold those charged without bond.

Additional charges are expected to be filed in the case.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.