2019 Dayton shooting
On August 4, 2019, Connor Stephen Betts, 24, fatally shot nine people and wounded 17 others using an AR-15 style pistol near the entrance of the Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton, Ohio. Betts was fatally shot by responding police officers 32 seconds after his first shot. An additional ten persons were injured by other causes, bringing the total number of wounded to 27.
|2019 Dayton shooting|
Ned Peppers Bar the day after the shooting
Map of the events of the shooting within the Oregon Historic District
|Location||419 East 5th Street|
Dayton, Ohio, United States
|Date||August 4, 2019 |
1:05 a.m. (EDT UTC−04:00)
|Weapons||AR-15 style pistol using .223 Remington with a 100-round drum magazine|
|Deaths||10 (including the perpetrator)|
|Injured||27 (17 from gunfire)|
|Perpetrator||Connor Stephen Betts|
A search of the shooter's home found evidence that showed an interest in violence and mass shootings and he had expressed a desire to commit one. A preliminary assessment did not indicate he had a racial or political motive. The attack occurred just 13 hours after an earlier mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
Two hours before the attack, the gunman was seen entering a bar with his sibling and a friend in the downtown Oregon Historic District of Dayton. At about 12:13 a.m., he split from the two and was recorded leaving the bar.
At 1:05 a.m., eyewitnesses reported that a man opened fire at the entrance of Ned Peppers Bar in the Oregon Historic District. He was carrying a firearm that included part of a semi-automatic AM-15 (based on the AR-15) in a pistol configuration with a shortened barrel, chambered in .223 caliber ammunition and equipped with a 100-round drum magazine. He fired into the crowd, fatally shooting nine people.
According to Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, 20 seconds after the shooting began, law enforcement officers already on the scene engaged the gunman. Within 32 seconds after the first shots were fired, the gunman was shot dead. An autopsy report released on December 6, 2019, showed that Betts was hit with 30 rounds. Local police evacuated many nearby night venues, and warned Dayton residents to stay away from the Oregon Historic District.
Miami Valley Hospital received 16 victims from the shooting, of which five were admitted, one in critical condition. Kettering Health Network, comprising nine hospitals in the area, received nine victims, with three in serious condition and three in fair condition. By 10:00 a.m. on the same day, 15 of 27 hospitalized people had been discharged. Of the injured, 17 were shot.
Police reported that all the fatalities occurred outside the bar on East 5th Street, and that the shooter's 22-year-old sibling was among those killed. Investigators are trying to determine if the gunman intentionally or accidentally killed his sibling, who was among the first victims.
Two of the victims who died were also shot by police. An autopsy showed that a woman who was shot by Betts was already bleeding from a fatal gunshot wound when she was struck by two bullets which were fired by police. Had she not been suffering from fatal injuries, one of the bullets which were fired by police would have been lethal. The second victim was shot by Betts multiple times and sustained a superficial gunshot wound from police. As a result of those findings, Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger ruled that the deaths were caused by Betts and were not the result of police gunfire.
Soon after the attack, police identified the gunman as Connor Stephen Betts, a 24-year-old who lived in Bellbrook, Ohio. According to police, he had minor traffic offenses on his record.
Betts made online references about Satan and described himself as a leftist and Antifa sympathizer. In the hours before he opened fire in Dayton, he "liked" a post in favor of gun control, and several concerning the El Paso shooting, including a tweet that called the El Paso shooter a "terrorist" and a "white supremacist." On August 10, ABC News quoted officials as stating that the gunman had misogynist views which were much more extreme than his political views.
Two former high school classmates said Betts was suspended from Bellbrook High School after he made lists of other students he wanted to kill and rape. The "hit list" was discovered in early 2012 and resulted in a police investigation. He was previously bullied and had planned to shoot up the school, a classmate said. Over the past year, the gunman had performed live vocals for a pornogrind band called Menstrual Munchies, a genre which Vice News described as a "misogynistic, male-dominated" music scene, and Buzzfeed described as focused on gore, violence, and necrophilia, and known for its dark, satirical themes of sexual violence delivered for shock value. His high school girlfriend said he complained of visual and auditory hallucinations and psychosis, and was afraid of developing schizophrenia.
On August 4, police and the FBI searched the shooter's home and found evidence that showed an interest in violence and mass shootings and that he had expressed a desire to commit a mass shooting. A preliminary assessment did not indicate the shooter had a racial or political motive. As of August 5, 2019, police investigators stated that the investigation is ongoing and that they are not prepared to speculate about motivation. On August 5, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl stated that: "We have a lot of evidence still to go through...based on where we're at now, we are not seeing any indication of race being a motive." Investigators are divided and have not determined whether he shot his sibling deliberately. A federal law enforcement official said that they were looking at whether the suspect was associated with incel groups.
The suspect had additional ammunition magazines with him, and was wearing body armor, a mask and hearing protection during the attack. He ordered the firearm used in the shooting online from Texas, and the firearm was transferred to a local firearms dealer in Ohio, where he picked it up. The firearm used was "modified in essence to function like a rifle", according to the Dayton Police; photos released by the Dayton Police show an AR-15 style firearm with a pistol brace.
On August 9, federal agents arrested a 24-year-old friend of the gunman, who was charged with making false statements in applying for a federal permit to purchase a weapon, and possession of a firearm by someone who illegally uses or is addicted to a controlled substance. According to police, the friend admitted that he had helped the gunman purchase body armor, a 100-round double drum magazine, and an upper receiver for the weapon used during the attack, and then helped to assemble the weapon. According to the charging affidavit, he also stored the weapon and accessories for a time in his apartment to ensure that the gunman's parents would not find out about the items. He was not suspected of being aware of or helping the attack, but investigations are continuing.
Members of the Southwest Ohio Critical Incident Stress Management Team met with police who had responded to the scene to help them process the situation. The team includes mental health professionals, police officers, firefighters, medics, and chaplains.
The local blood bank asked for more donations following the shooting, and various companies promoted donation drives. Local leaders and community members held a vigil on East 5th Street on August 4, where ten doves were released, one each for each dead victim and one for the wounded.
Following the shooting, Ned Peppers Bar posted a message on Instagram reading: "All of our staff is safe and our hearts go out to everyone involved as we gather information."
President Donald Trump tweeted, "God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio." In a later statement, he ordered that, following both shootings, all public U.S. flags be flown at half-staff until sunset on August 8. Regarding mass shootings, he said, "We have done much more than most administrations. We've actually done a lot. But perhaps more has to be done."
Mayor Nan Whaley thanked the officers for a quick response, saying that it certainly prevented more deaths. She also spoke of how hard the day would be for the city and the families affected. Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Governor Mike DeWine offered their condolences.
Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat representing Ohio, said "Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must act." He urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, to start a United States Senate session on August 5 to "vote on gun-safety laws". Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, made a similar call to action. He referenced H.R.8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 that had passed the United States House of Representatives earlier in February, saying the Senate should also pass this. Representative Ted Lieu, a Democrat, asserted that McConnell was "blocking" the bipartisan proposal on "common sense gun safety legislation" from being voted on in the Senate.
Ohio House of Representatives member Candice Keller posted an essay on her personal Facebook page, blaming the shooting on several factors including recreational marijuana and the breakdown of the traditional family (due to causes including transgender rights). Her statement was criticized by Cincinnati City Council member Chris Seelbach, Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, and Ohio Republican Party chairwoman Jane Timken (who called on her to resign).
Following the El Paso shooting, which occurred 13 hours prior, multiple Democratic 2020 presidential election candidates called for political action to eliminate gun violence in the United States; they included Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Tim Ryan, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Andrew Yang.
Trump visited El Paso and Dayton on August 7. In Dayton, he spoke to hospitalized victims, medical staff, and first responders. The White House published photos and videos of his trip, some of which showed him posing, smiling, and giving thumbs up gestures with his hosts. He told reporters, "We had an amazing day. The love, the respect for the office of the presidency – I wish you could have been in there to see it."
The incident was mentioned by Pope Francis during a speech in St. Peter's Square on August 4, in which he condemned attacks on defenseless people and said he was spiritually close to the victims, the wounded and the families affected by the attacks that had "bloodied Texas, California, and Ohio".
In response to the shooting, the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit issued a notice stating that no Asians had been injured and that "Japanese residents should be aware of the potential for gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States, a gun society, and continue to pay close attention to safety measures." At least two other nations – Uruguay and Venezuela — issued similar travel warnings, with Uruguay's foreign ministry issuing a statement warning its citizens traveling in the U.S. "to take precautions against growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes, including racism and discrimination," and Venezuela cautioning its citizens to postpone travel to the U.S. or to take precautions "given the proliferation of acts of violence and crimes of indiscriminate hatred."
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According to Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, officers engaged the suspect within 20 seconds of hearing shots fired. Thirty seconds after the gunman began shooting, he was shot and killed by first responders, Biehl said.
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Media related to 2019 Dayton shooting at Wikimedia Commons