Two teenage brothers were accused of carrying out a deadly shooting at a Sweet 16 birthday party in Alabama, authorities announced Wednesday. Four young people were killed in the shooting late Saturday night at a dance studio in the town of Dadeville, Alabama.
Sgt. Jeremy Burkett of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said the suspects were arrested Tuesday night. The suspects were identified as Ty Reik McCullough, 17, and Travis McCullough, 16, both of Tuskegee. A spokesperson with the agency later confirmed to CBS News the suspects are brothers.
“Make no mistake: This is Alabama, and when you pull out a gun and you start shooting people, we’re going to put you in jail,” Burkett said.
The suspects were each charged with four counts of reckless murder, Burkett told reporters during a morning press conference. District Attorney Mike Segrest said the suspects would be charged as adults. CBS News typically does not name suspects who are minors unless they’re being charged as adults with serious crimes.
All of the deceased victims in the mass shooting were under the age of 24. The victims were identified as Marsiah Collins, 19; Phil Dowdell, 18; Corbin Holston, 23; and Shaunkivia Smith, 17.
Another 32 people were hurt in the shooting. Segrest said four people were still in critical condition and that additional charges would be filed against the suspects.
“We’re going to make sure every one of those victims has justice and not just the deceased,” Segrest said.
The district attorney noted that the birthday party was for Dowdell’s sister, Alexis Dowdell.
“Sweet 16. There’s uncut cake and unburnt 16 candles that never got lit … on her 16th birthday party, she went out by her brother as he took his last breath,” Segrest said. “That’s what we’re dealing with here.”
Dowdell’s mother, Latonya Allen, who was struck twice in the shooting, told CBS News earlier this week the gunfire sent partygoers running, hiding and crying. Phil Dowdell was found inside the dance studio.
“Alexis, she got down on her knees and was holding him,” Allen told CBS News. “He was just bloody. She was saying, kept telling him, ‘Wake up, Phil.'”
Alexis Dowdell said her brother pushed her to the ground when the shooting started and saved her life. “If it wasn’t for him, I mean, I don’t know where I would be, I don’t know if I would still be standing here today,” she told CBS News correspondent Omar Villafranca.
A bond hearing will be held for the suspects within 72 hours, Segrest said. The district attorney said prosecutors will ask for them to be held without bond.
The investigation into the shooting was ongoing, and Burkett said he couldn’t discuss a possible motive for the attack or a possible connection between the suspects and the victims.
Burkett urged people who were at the party and haven’t already contacted investigators to reach out to authorities.
“We need you to come forward for these families, for these victims,” Burkett said.