MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — 48 hours after a mass shooting in Dadeville claimed four lives and injured 32 others at a sweet-16 birthday party Saturday night, a Mobile resident and relative to one of the victims is asking for answers.
Amy Jackson lost her cousin Shaunkivia “Keke” Smith in the tragedy. She’s lived in Mobile for about 10 years, but she’s a native of Dadeville, so this news hit too close to home.
Too devastated about the news, she spoke with WKRG News 5 on the phone. Jackson says receiving the phone call from her family about the news of her cousin passing away was unbearable to hear.
She describes Dadeville as a small, tight-knit community, so this shooting was something she wouldn’t imagine happening in her hometown.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Jackson. “You know, to hear of a mass shooting in your hometown, where everybody knows everybody. And, you know, these innocent kids were just at a birthday party, you know?”
Even though Smith and Jackson are cousins, Jackson says they were very close, to the point where Jackson considered her cousin her little niece.
Jackson says her cousin’s smile was unforgettable, and it could brighten an entire room. It’s one of the many things about Smith that Jackson wants people to remember about her cousin.
“She was just like a light,” said Jackson. “She was a ray of sunshine. She was the sweetest person. She was a wonderful sister. Wonderful cousin, wonderful daughter.”
The teenager was set to graduate from Dadeville High School in a few weeks. After graduation, she was planning to attend the University of Alabama in the fall.
“She looked forward to going to college and she always said even as a little girl,” said Jackson. “She always say she’s gonna go to college, and she was fulfilling it. But it was ripped. It was ripped from her.”
A life gone too soon, Jackson continues to mourn the loss of her cousin. She says other people close to her were injured in the shooting.
“I got another cousin that was shot, is hospitalized right now,” said Jackson. “He got shot in the chest. My best friend’s daughter got shot in the leg twice. She’s a cheerleader. You know, it’s always is the whole community is suffering from this.”
Even though many were injured in the shooting, Jackson doesn’t want any parents to feel guilty for allowing their children to celebrate someone’s birthday.
“She did nothing wrong, and those parents didn’t do nothing wrong by having their kids at the party,” said Jackson. “The person that owns the building didn’t do anything wrong by leasing the building to the, you know, the other parents that allowed their kids to come to the party. They did nothing wrong. The person had done something wrong were the shooters.”
Jackson wants to make sure her cousin’s name is never forgotten, and as she continues to remember her cousin’s life, she’s hopeful that she, her family, and the town of Dadeville receives justice.
“I do know they will be found,” said Jackson. “They’ll find them and you know, and justice will be served for everyone.”
Jackson and Smith’s immediate family have started a GoFundMe to help pay for Shaunkivia’s funeral expenses. If you would like to help, click the link here.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) has not named any suspects or possible motives in the shooting. The department says they have not recovered any weapons, but they have recovered multiple shell casings that are found in handguns.
Now, they are asking for the public’s assistance to help them with the investigation. If you know or have any information, you are asked to call ALEA at 1-800-392-8011 or call Central Alabama Crime Stoppers at 1-833-AL1-STOP.