A gunman opened fire in front of a bar in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday morning, injuring 14 and killing 9 people, including his own sister. Police identified the suspected gunman as 24 year-old Connor Stephen Betts, of Bellbrook, Ohio. Betts was reportedly wearing all black, body armor, a mask, and was equipped with an assault-style rifle. Betts opened fire at approximately 1:05am, in front of popular bar Ned Peppers and police responded within 20 seconds of the shots, neutralizing the shooter in about 30 seconds.
Police are still investigating the motive for the crime as facts and information about Betts are still being verified. Several news outlets have obtained comments from former classmates saying Betts was, “a pretty dark kid” and that he may have created a hit list of people he wanted to kill years before during his time at Bellbrook High School. Betts' former classmates told CNN that they recalled Betts being removed from the school for at least a year, but that he later returned to Bellbrook High. Douglas A. Cozad, Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools Superintendent, confirmed that Betts had been a student at the high school in 2013 but did not confirm the existence of the list saying, “Since he has not been a student here for over six years, we are still gathering additional information and will release it as soon as we can.”
Police say that the “assault-style rifle” used in the attack had been modified from when it was bought, fitted with an extended drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds. The gun was bought legally online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to a local firearms dealer, police said. An additional shotgun was reportedly found in Betts’ car.
Betts’ sister Megan, 22, was one of the first to be killed. Megan graduated from Bellbrook High School two years behind her brother and played in the marching band with him. The New York Times spoke with Alex Gerbic, another member of the band who said she was “outgoing,” while her brother was more withdrawn. “She was a very bubbly personality — very kind,” Gerbic said. “From what I knew, they were close, as brother and sister. This was five or six years ago.”
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said, the siblings had arrived in the same vehicle with a third person earlier in the evening but separated before the rampage. The slain victims include, Lois Oglesby, black female, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38, black male; Logan Turner, white male, 30; Nicholas P. Cumer, white male, 25; Thomas J. McNichols, black male, 25; Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, black female, 36; Monica E. Brickhouse, black female, 39; and Derrick R. Fudge, black male, 57. Biehl said, “We have no evidence to suggest that there’s a bias motive in this crime at this time.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he is "heartbroken over the horrible attack" and has ordered flags across the state remain at half staff. Mayor of Dayton, Nan Whaley said she commended Dayton's first responders, adding if officers hadn't responded "in less than a minute," many more might have died. "It is a terrible day for Dayton, but I am so grateful for Dayton Police's fast action," Whaley said.