Dadeville victim’s teammate describes town following mass shooting

DADEVILLE, Ala. (TROJANVISION) — Dadeville residents continue to band together following a mass shooting that claimed multiple lives and left dozens injured.

On Saturday, April 15, the city was thrust into the national spotlight after a shooting at a 16th birthday party left four people dead and 32 others injured. With a population of around 3,000, residents say Dadeville is a town where everybody knows everybody.

“We’re just a small town,” said Dadeville High School alumnus Walker Wayne Straggins. “We’ve all came together really. Had a bunch of candle lightings and going to churches and praying with everybody.”

According to police, the shooting happened at Mahogany Dance Studio in downtown Dadeville. Across town, flags are at half-staff, businesses are decorated with gold and black ribbons, which are the colors of Dadeville High School, and a memorial remains where the shooting took place.

“I really didn’t believe it at first,” Straggins said. “I was kind of in shock, and I kept questioning people that I knew that would be in the area and that were there.”

Straggins told TrojanVision he used to play sports with one of the victims, Phil Dowdell.

“He was one of the best athletes I’ve ever seen come through Dadeville,” Straggins said. “He had a bright future.”

In tragic events, words can fail. Sometimes, the place you can find the most comfort is your neighbor next door.

“We’ve come up with a slogan called ‘Dadeville Strong’,” Straggins explained. “We just come together and that’s how we’re healing. Together.”

According to the website World Population Review, Dadeville’s 2023 census is 2,927. Based on the total number of people who were hurt as well as those killed, over one percent of Dadeville’s population was directly impacted by Saturday’s shooting.

Editor’s note: This report was a joint effort by Emma Ellis and Simon Schuessler.