Wilson LaMar Hill Jr: Third suspect arrested for 'Sweet 16' Dadeville shooting that killed 4 students
DADEVILLE, ALABAMA: A third person of interest has been arrested in connection with the Dadeville shooting that claimed the lives of four people and injured 32 at a teenager's birthday party last week. Wilson LaMar Hill Jr, 20, was arrested on Wednesday afternoon, April 19, and charged with four counts of reckless murder.
Ty Reik McCullough and Travis McCullough, aged 17 and 16, were previously arrested by the Alabama police on Tuesday night and charged with the same crimes. At around 10.34 pm on Saturday, April 15, four people were killed at Mahogany Masterpiece dance studio in Dadeville, Alabama, a small town of around 3,200 people.
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Mass shooting at 'Sweet 16' party
The venue was hosting a Sweet 16 party for teen Alexis Dowdell at the time. Multiple people started shooting their firearms after Dowdell’s mother asked the suspects to leave according to the witnesses. Alexis's brother, Philstavious Dowdell, 18, reportedly died in his sister's arms.
What did the district attorney say?
"It was Lexi’s 16th birthday party. A Sweet 16. There’s an uncut cake and unburnt 16 candles that never got lit. Lexi’s brother is one of the victims," District Attorney Mike Segrest said at a press conference on Wednesday according to Fox News. "At her 16th birthday party, she kneeled by her brother as he took his last breath. That’s what we’re dealing with. The message that I want to send is I know some of these victims personally. Some of these kids are kids of friends of mine, people that I went to school with, and people that I played ball with and against in the community back in high school. And these are my kids," Segrest added.
Shaunkivia Nicole Smith, Marsiah Emmanuel Collins, and Corbin Dahmontrey Holston also died. Their ages ranged from 17 to 23. The Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Department is probing the incident along with other departments including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
MEAWW previously reported that Dowdell was a Dadeville High School student-athlete, who recently committed to playing wide receiver at Jacksonville State University. Michael Taylor, an assistant football, basketball, and track coach at Dadeville High, said while talking about him, "He was the No 1 athlete in the school." "I actually started coaching Phil in the youth league; he was 10 at the time. I’ve been with Phil and some of the guys, and we came up together as far as when I started coaching youth then working with the school and coaching varsity," he expressed, reports The Alexander City Outlook.
The coach said Dowdell was one of the best football players in the state. He was also an honor student who played basketball and won state honors in track in 2022, states AL.com. Describing him further, Dowdell's grandmother, Annette Allen, said, "He was a very, very humble child. Never messed with anybody. Always had a smile on his face."