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DADEVILLE, Ala. (WRBL) – At least four people were killed Saturday night in a shooting at a celebration in Alabama, according to law enforcement.
Witnesses said the shooting occurred at a 16th birthday party at Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio in downtown Dadeville. Sgt. Jeremy Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said shots were fired at 10:34 p.m.
Witnesses reported hearing multiple gunshots and seeing people running and screaming from the building.
The total number of people shot was initially reported as more than 20. The State Bureau of Investigations, which confirmed the deaths Sunday morning, did not give an updated number of people injured.
A spokesperson only said there were a “multitude of injuries” during a Sunday morning press conference, and described the investigation as a “long, complicated process.”
Pastor Ben Hayes, who serves as the chaplain for the Dadeville Police Department and for the local high school football team, said most of the victims are teenagers because the shooting occurred at a 16th birthday party.
“One of the young men that was killed was one of our star athletes and just a great guy. So I knew many of these students. Dadeville is a small town and this is going to affect everybody in this area,” Hayes said.
The injured were transported to local hospitals for medical attention Saturday night.
Details about the suspect(s) or motives have not yet been released by authorities.
Ten hours after the shooting, crime scene tape still surrounded the dance studio. A tarp hung over the glass front door and white sheets could be seen inside covering the floor. Several yellow police placards littered the front sidewalk.
“This morning, I grieve with the people of Dadeville and my fellow Alabamians. Violent crime has NO place in our state, and we are staying closely updated by law enforcement as details emerge,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement posted on social media.
Dadeville, which has a population of about 3,200 people, is in east Alabama, about 57 miles northeast of Montgomery, Alabama.
The shooting has left the small town shaken. “The city of Dadeville is a tight-knit community full of wonderful people,” said Police Chief Jonathan Floyd. “Please do not let this moment define what you think about the city of Dadeville and our fine people.”
The superintendent of Tallapoosa County schools Raymond Porter said counseling would be available to local students Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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