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4 dead, 28 injured at ‘Sweet 16’ birthday party in US

At least four people have been killed in a mass shooting at a 16th birthday party in the US state of Alabama.

Twenty-eight people were injured, some critically, after shots were fired at the Mahogany Masterpiece Dance Studio in the city of Dadeville on Saturday.

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High school senior Phil Dowdell, a star athlete, has been named by local media as one of the victims.

President Joe Biden renewed his calls for tougher gun laws after the incident.

“What has our nation come to when children cannot attend a birthday party without fear?” Mr Biden asked, in a statement released by the White House on Sunday.

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This shooting takes the US to a grim milestone of more than 160 mass shootings – in which four or more people are shot – so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

With a population of about 3,200 people, Dadeville is a small, rural city which is not used to scenes of violence on this scale.

What is striking right now, and unusual, is how little we know about a possible suspect.

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Next to no details have emerged about how the shooting was brought to an end, or whether a suspect has themselves died or is in custody.

Sgt Jeremy Burkett of the state’s law enforcement agency said the investigation would be a “long, complicated process”.

“We’re going to work in a methodical way to go through this scene, to look at the facts and ensure that justice is brought to bear for the families,” he said late on Sunday.

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The injuries ranged from “extremely critical” to minor, he said.

It is likely that most of the victims were teenagers. Some of the parents were still searching for information about their children 12 hours after the shooting took place.

Among those who are known to have been killed is Phil Dowdell, who was named by his grandmother in local media.

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He was a senior in high school and was going to Jacksonville State University on an American football scholarship.

The incident in Tallapoosa County, in the east of Alabama, follows a shooting on the same day at a park in Louisville, Kentucky, which killed two people and injured four others.

In his own statement, Mr Biden said the nation was “once again grieving” and described the rise in shootings as “outrageous and unacceptable”.

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He said the American people wanted lawmakers to act on “common sense gun safety reforms”.

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