DADEVILLE, Ala. (WIAT) – The memorial in Dadeville for the four lives lost in Saturday’s shooting has grown exponentially as the community continues to grieve.
Monday night, just a few bouquets were laid at the doorstep of Mahogany Masterpiece. By Tuesday night, dozens of flowers, balloons, candles and stuffed animals were laid out in memory.
“I looked up to Phil as a role model,” says Corde Jefferson, a Dadeville High School student.
Jefferson and his family paid their respects to Phil Dowdell who they say mentored on and off the field.
“Couple months ago, he told me during my football season to send him some of my highlights so he can put me on with coaches,” Jefferson said.
“I couldn’t imagine what the parents are really going through about any of these,” Jefferson’s mom said. “I know if it was my child, I wouldn’t know how to take any of this.”
Dr. Daniel Marullo with Children’s of Alabama says talking to kids about gun violence and mass shootings can be a difficult topic to navigate.
“It’s very helpful for children to have information, even when the truth is very painful,” Marullo said. “How you convey that information is going to be dependent on the child and what their age is.”
The Dadeville community is mourning but still looking for answers so they can begin to process and heal from Saturday night’s violence.
“There are a lot of people who know who did this shooting and the detectives need to be allowed to pursue this investigation the right way because there’s a trial later,” Calera Police Chief David Hyche said. “We can’t push and make things happen faster than they actually unfold.”
Children’s of Alabama says there’s a statewide, confidential service called the Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC), where parents can call and get mental health resources for their kids for free. That phone number is 205-638-7472 and is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.