UPDATE: Police investigate shooting death of Fairhope teen
A Demopolis man has been charged with murder following a shooting incident early Saturday that led to the death of a Fairhope teenager.
According to the Demopolis Police Department, officers responded to the shooting call at 171 Starmont Road, at 12:24 a.m. Upon arrival officers found a female lying on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound. The DPD has not released the name of the victim due to her status as a minor, but multiple published news reports have identified the victim as 17-year-old Lauren Wright, a recent graduate of Fairhope High School.
Emergency personnel transported Wright to the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital emergency room, where she died Saturday morning.
Police arrested Dalton Martin Jowers, 19, of Demopolis and charged him with murder in the case, according to a statement by Demopolis Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Tommie Reese.
Jowers was released from the Marengo County Detention Center on a $10,000 bond following a hearing Monday afternoon.
According to published reports, Jowers and Wright were outside of a home on Starmont Road when the shooting occurred while additional people were inside the house. It was also reported that when police arrived, Jowers was performing CPR on Wright.
Reese said the DPD Criminal Investigations Divisions is still investigating the case, including whether the shooting was possibly an accident.
“We are still looking at all avenues and speaking to everyone. There’s a lot going around on social media right now, but our investigation is ongoing and we are looking into all angles,” Reese said.
Wright was said to be in the Demopolis area visiting friends and family to celebrate her recent graduation from Fairhope High School. She was planning to attend culinary school at Coastal Alabama Community College.
Wright had many friends in the area, some of which were made during her time as a student at Marengo Academy. Victoria Belcher was one of those friends who is dealing with the loss, and was among those with Wright the night of the shooting.
“I still can’t believe she’s gone,” Belcher said. “I was with her just a couple minutes before it happened. We were sitting around singing, laughing, and having the time of our lives. She said she was having one of the best weeks of her life. It happened so fast and this shouldn’t have been the way she left.”
Wright moved to Fairhope about two years ago from her previous residence in Linden.
Wright was an employee at Pinzone’s Italian Restaurant in Fairhope, which began a fundraiser on Tuesday to help Wright’s family with funeral expenses. There was also a lantern release Tuesday night in her memory in Fairhope.