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Alabama birthday shooting: Murder charges for adult, 2 teens

April 20, 2023

Police arrested one man and two teenagers on murder charges with a request to hold them without bail. The shooting at a "Sweet 16" birthday party last weekend killed four, including the birthday girl's brother.

Mourners attend a vigil at the First Baptist Church of Dadeville following a mass shooting in Dadeville, Alabama.
The shocking crime devastated the city of Dadeville last weekendImage: Megan Varner/Getty Images/AFP

Two teenage boys and one 20-year-old man in the southern US state of Alabama have been arrested and charged with murder on Wednesday over a birthday party shooting which took place last weekend, leaving four dead and more than 30 injured.

The three suspects were charged with four counts of reckless murder, Sergeant Jeremy Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said during a news conference.

"Make no mistake. This is Alabama and when you pull out a gun and you start shooting people, we're going to put you in jail," Burkett said. "We're tired of going to mothers and having to tell them these kids aren't coming home."

District Attorney Mike Segrest said the teens, aged 17 and 16 and both from the city of Tuskegee, would be tried as adults, adding that prosecutors would ask a judge to hold them without bail.

In Alabama, anyone 16 or older who is charged with murder is automatically required to be treated as an adult.

The adult suspect is from Auburn, 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of the town where the shooting occurred.

Burkett would not say where the suspects are jailed. He also did not provide details about the motive, saying it was still part of the ongoing investigation.

What happened at the birthday party?

The shooting occurred at a dance studio during a birthday party of a 16-year-old girl, whose brother was among the victims. The young man was a rising American football star who was expected to play college football at Jacksonville State University.

Other victims included two other teenagers and a 23-year-old.

The shooting occurred within weeks of two high-profile deadly mass shootings in two other southern US states,Tennessee and Kentucky.

There has been a staggering number of shootings in America this year alone. Data from the Gun Violence Archive show there have been more than 163 mass shootings in 2023 so far. April 19, 2023, is only the 109th day of the year.

The group defines mass shootings as those in which four or more people are killed, excluding the shooter.

rmt/jcg (AP, Reuters)

Shooting at US teenager's party kills four people, wounds 28