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Family in mourning after deadly Sweet 16 party shooting in Alabama

Older brother killed in Alabama birthday shooting
Mother speaks out after deadly shooting at Alabama birthday party 03:27

Latonya Allen was chaperoning her daughter's Sweet 16 party at a small dance studio in Dadeville, Alabama, when rumors started spreading that someone had a gun. Allen temporarily stopped the party, turned the lights on and told people if they were over 18 and had a gun they had to leave. 

Later that night, the unthinkable happened.

Phil Dowdell, Allen's 18-year-old son and Alexis Dowdell's brother, was killed in the shooting.

The high school senior and football star was set to graduate next month. He was headed to play football for Jacksonville State.

"(Alexis Dowdell) got down on her knees and we're holding him. He was just bloody," Allen told CBS News. "She was saying, you know, kept telling him, 'Wake up, Phil, wake up.' He was trying to say something, but by that time he couldn't say anything else. And he stopped breathing."

Alexis Dowdell said her brother was "going in and out" of consciousness.

"And then when somebody from the ambulance had came in and they felt his pulse and they was like, 'he's gone.' And then I was just like, 'please don't tell me that,'" she recalled.

Alexis said that her big brother's final act was to grab her by the waist and push her down, protecting her from the gunfire.

"If it wasn't for him, I mean, I don't know where I'd be," she said. "I don't know if I would still be standing here today if he would never save my life."

Another high school senior, 17-year-old Shaunkivia Smith, was also killed, along with 19-year-old Masriah Collins and 23-year-old Corbin Holston, who supposedly had not attended the party, but had gone to check on a younger family member.

A vigil for the victims was held Sunday night. One attendee, Daquan Doss, had known Phil Dowdell since Kindergarten.

"I was standing right beside him," a visibly shaken Doss told CBS News. "Next thing I know, they're shooting on him. I think he went right into it. I went the opposite way. I wish I could've pulled him my way."

At least 32 people were injured in the shooting, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said in a Monday afternoon news release, which added that investigators were "still processing all of the evidence ... in an effort to solidify a motive and potential suspects."

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