DADEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) – Saturday night’s tragedy leaves the small town community of Dadeville in shock in the aftermath of a mass shooting that police say left 4 dead and 32 injured.
The sign at Mahogany Masterpiece was taken down Monday evening, as the owner says she wants the focus to be on the grieving families, not the business.
Residents in Dadeville say they’re heartbroken and confused, saying this is the last place they ever expected to hear about such a tragedy.
“Celebration of life turned nightmare for the rest of their lives,” Dadeville resident Cami Waters said.
When people saw the lights and heard the sirens Saturday night racing to downtown Dadeville, they didn’t expect to learn the country’s latest mass shooting happened in their own backyard.
“Never thought something would happen in a small town like that, especially at a sixteen-year-old’s birthday party,” Dwain Holt, another Dadeville resident, said. “It’s unbelievable these kids won’t be able to live the rest of their lives over something stupid.”
People in Dadeville say it’s a small, quiet town where people feel safe leaving their doors unlocked.
“People always say ‘that’s never going to happen in our town’ and literally this would be the last place,” says Waters. “Nothing ever happens here, ever. So, this was very shocking. I would never have thought in a million years something like that could happen here.”
Support is already being organized for the community, as the nonprofit Community Foundation of East Alabama says it has started a fund called ‘Caring for Dadeville’. The foundation says 100% of the money raised will go to local organizations that will provide support for students and community members.
“Our goal is to make sure that Dadeville matters and that we put them on the map to pull funds together in order to best help a community that needs healing,” says Katie Whittelsey with the Community Foundation of East Alabama.
Alexander City pediatrician Dr. Chante Ruffin says whether Dadeville students were physically hurt Saturday or not, this will be a lasting impact on the community with a great need for mental health support.
“I couldn’t stop crying Saturday night. I even had some patients that were victims of the gun violence,” Ruffin said. “It’s just really still touching me today and I just couldn’t imagine as a mother what some of them are going through.”
The Dadeville community says this isn’t something they will be able to forget. They say all there is left to do is pray for healing and justice for the families of those killed and injured.
Donations for the ‘Caring for Dadeville’ fund can be made online or by mailing a check to Community Foundation of East Alabama – Caring for Dadeville Fund, P.O. Box 165, Opelika, AL 36803.
If you have any information regarding Saturday’s shooting, call ALEA at 1-800-392-8011 or email email@example.com or contact Central Alabama Crime Stoppers at 1-833-AL1-STOP or at the link here.
ALEA and FBI Mobile Office ask that any photos or videos from the shooting be uploaded to the link here.