USA: Shots at birthday party: Brother saves sister's life and dies himself

It was supposed to be a boisterous birthday party, but the party ended fatally.

USA: Shots at birthday party: Brother saves sister's life and dies himself

It was supposed to be a boisterous birthday party, but the party ended fatally. The American Alexis Dowdell was celebrating her 16th birthday in a dance studio in the town of Dadeville (US state Alabama) when one or more previously unknown perpetrators opened fire. According to police, four people died and 28 others were injured. Some of them are in mortal danger.

Birthday girl Alexis Dowdell survived the killing spree – because her brother Phil, who was two years older, saved her life. The 18-year-old himself, however, was one of those killed. Hearing that someone was about to have a gun at the party, he drove to the dance studio to fetch his sister home, the BBC reports. The girl's mother also intervened. She took the microphone and demanded that whoever was carrying a gun leave the party.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen - a little later, around 10:30 p.m., the unidentified gunman started shooting indiscriminately. "All of a sudden I heard gunshots and saw everyone just running towards the exit," Alexis Dowdell told the BBC. "People fell and screamed." She owes much of her survival to her brother. Phil Dodwell quick-wittedly pulled his younger sister to the ground so she escaped the hail of bullets.

After that, they both got lost in the chaos: Alexis made it out of the building and hid outside. Only later did she find out that her brother had been hit. The badly injured Phil died in her arms. "The last thing I told him was to be strong," the 16-year-old told the BBC.

"He was a very humble kid. Never in trouble, always smiling," said Annette Allen, grandmother of Phil and Alexis Dodwell, the boy who was due to graduate high school in a few weeks. "Everyone is mourning," she told the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper. The mother of the siblings also sustained two gunshot wounds.

US President Joe Biden said: "What has become of our country when children can no longer go to a birthday party without fear? When parents have to worry every time their children go to school , go to the movies or to the park?" Biden said. "Firearms are responsible for the majority of child deaths in America, and the numbers are rising rather than falling. This is outrageous and unacceptable."

Sources: BBC / "Montgomery Advertiser" / DPA / AFP

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