City of Dadeville continues healing one month after deadly mass shooting

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 11:03 PM EDT
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DADEVILLE, Ala. (WTVM) - A memorial still stands outside of the Mahogany Dance Studio in memory of those killed and injured during the mass shooting that took place a month ago. The small town of Dadevile is still trying to cope after so many people were affected.

“This is the type of event that will change you for the rest of your life,” said Dadeville Chief.

It has been exactly a month since a Sweet 16 birthday party turned into a horrific nightmare.

“Knowing it was her birthday party and knowing on every birthday she [will] think of that memory,” said Rena Minifield.

Alexis Dowdell’s birthday celebration ended with her brother Phil Dowdell lying in her arms as he took his last breath, forever changing her life and hundreds of others.

“We still have some of our victims who are still in the hospital. We still have some of our victims who have a long road to recovery,” said the chief.

Chief Johnathan Floyd says the community is still trying to find a sense of normalcy.

“It’s a long process for healing and recovery, and our people are with them with prayers, donations. It’s just been amazing the outpouring that we’ve had for our city and our victims.”

A friend of KeKe Smith and Phil Dowdell, Rena Minnifield, says one word to describe the strategy is disbelief.

“I just kind of ignored it because I didn’t think it was true cause my mom, she also called me at the same time. So I was like something has to be bad,” said Minnifield.

Tallapoosa County Superintendent Raymond Porter says the district is seeking grants to fund counseling and coping mechanisms long term. He says counselors will still be available for anyone to reach out to over the summer if needed.

“Every part of this community has been affected by this, and so every part of this community is pitching in to do something about this,” said Porter.

The chief tells me the case will be presented in front of a grand jury, and he feels confident there will be indictments. He says these families and victims affected will get justice.