Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)
Memorials now line the streets of Dayton, Ohio,’s historic Oregon District, just one day after a masked gunman shot and killed nine people early Sunday morning.
CNN reports the shooter 24-year-old Connor Betts wore a bulletproof vest and hearing protection the night he stormed the popular nightlife district in downtown Dayton. In a span of 30 seconds, the gunman fatally shot his own sister and injured at least 27 others.
Police killed Betts within 30 seconds of him opening fire, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters.
“The officers immediately advanced toward the gunfire and within approximately 20 seconds, they engaged the suspect, who was actively firing and attempting to enter a crowded liquor establishment,” Biehl said, according to CNN.
Most of the victims, whose ages ranged from 27 to 57 years old, were black. They include Lois Oglesby, Saeed Saleh, Derrick Fudge, Logan Turner, Nicholas Cumer, Thomas McNichols, Beatrice Warren-Curtis, Monica Brickhouse, and Megan Betts, the shooter’s sister.
Dayton police said they didn’t yet have sufficient evidence suggesting racial bias in the shooting. CNN, citing law enforcement sources, says officials searched the gunman’s home and found writings expressing his interest in killing people. This was backed up by the Dayton Daily News, which interviewed several of Betts’ former classmates and reports the gunman was suspended from his high school for creating a “hit list” of students he wanted to kill (CNN reports that this list was separated by gender into a “kill” and “rape” list).
From the Dayton Daily News:
[A]cquaintances say the warning signs—signs of the shooter’s unusual obsession with killing and death—cropped up long ago.
“This isn’t a mystery to me,” said one middle school classmate. “I’m furious.”
The classmate, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the shooter once said he fantasized about tying her up and slitting her throat. The fetish was so macabre that even the shooter admitted he was scared of his thoughts, the woman recalled him saying.
… The woman said she and her parents told Bellbrook police about the bizarre admission, but the woman said she felt she wasn’t taken seriously, despite the would-be shooter including her on a hit list.
Despite this, the shooter was able to acquire an assault-style rifle from Texas, officials say.
Police recovered the rifle that was used in the shooting, [Chief] Biehl said. It was ordered online from Texas but transferred to the suspect at a local firearms dealer, the police chief said. Authorities also found a shotgun in the shooter’s 2007 Toyota Corolla, which was parked nearby. That weapon was acquired from a separate local firearms dealer, Biehl said.
“There’s nothing in this individual’s history or record that would have precluded him from purchasing that firearm,” Biehl said.
According to the Dayton Daily News, memorials now line East Fifth Street, where the mass shooting took place. The largest one is outside Ned Peppers Bar, where “candles, balloons, and handwritten notes” mark the place where the gunman began and ended his short rampage, the outlet writes. Other businesses on the street have posted the names of the victims on letter boards, and “Dayton Strong” messages were written on the sidewalks.
During a vigil last night honoring the victims, attendees began shouting at Ohio Governor Mike DeWine as he gave remarks, chanting, “Do something! Do something!”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit which tracks every mass shooting, there have been 251 mass shootings in 2019—more mass shootings than days so far this year.