CAMP HILL, Ala. (WIAT) – Hundreds of people gathered at Mt. Lovely Baptist Church in Camp Hill Thursday night to honor the life of one of the victims from Saturday’s mass shooting. Phil Dowdell, 18, was shot and killed along with three other people at his little sister’s sixteenth birthday party.
“My nephew was an angel,” Antreal Allen, Dowdell’s uncle, said.
Dowdell’s loved ones describe him as a beacon of light and positivity to anyone in his life.
“Everything you want in a child. Smart. Street smart, book smart,” Maya Maddox, a member of the Dowdell family, said. “I mean, just amazing, amazing young man.”
“I looked at him like a little brother,” Allen said. “He was my guy, my boy, my rock. Everything that we did, you know we had a conversation about any and everything.”
Dowdell’s family is heartbroken by his death but is finding comfort in knowing he’s in heaven. During the vigil, church leaders said it’s important to raise your children to be good men and women so should a child die, the family can rest assured knowing where they will spend eternity.
“We’ve got to start doing things the right way as a whole, not just or two or three or four or five. You know, collectively,” Allen said. “I just think we’ve got to do a better job not judging people for who they are.”
Dowdell’s family says it was clear to see how loved he was by the number of people who showed up.
“When one hurts, we all hurt,” Allen said. “The main thing is, the community, just make sure we stick together.”
“As we say, Camp Hill strong. When we’re down, we get up,” Mt. Lovely Baptist Church Pastor Bernard Harris said. “We turn the situations around and we know that what the Devil meant for evil, god will put a spin on it and we’ll be better off tomorrow, next month.”
Dowdell’s family and friends are grateful to see arrests have made in the shooting.
“I just want justice for everybody. For all the victims who lost their lives, for the ones that were injured,” says Maddox.
The family says what they need most right now is support and to know they’re not going through this tragedy alone.