The Dayton Police Department confirmed suspected shooter Connor Betts, 24, was wearing a bulletproof vest, mask, and hearing protection when he fired dozens of bullets outside of Ned Peppers in downtown Dayton—71 miles west of Columbus.
Officers arrived to the scene around 1 a.m., where they saw a large crowd running away from a gunman. They responded with lethal force.
“Officers patrolling the Oregon District during bar closing time heard gunfire erupt and observed a large crowd running away from the gunfire,” Police Chief Richard Biehl said in a presentation. “Officers immediately advanced towards the gunfire … they engaged the suspect who was actively firing and attempting to enter a crowded liquor establishment. The threat was neutralized within approximately 30 seconds of the suspect firing his first shots.”
A witness told CNN that someone at the establishment distracted Betts by grabbing the barrel of his .223-caliber high-capacity rifle with 100-round drum magazines. The shooter “picked up a handgun and was willing to continue shooting,” until officers arrived and shot Betts dead.
Although officers were quick to respond, the shooter still managed to shoot dead nine victims.
They include the shooter’s sister Megan Betts (22), Monica E. Brickhouse (39), Nicholas Cumer (25), Derrick Fudge (57), Thomas McNichols (25), Lois L. Oglesby (27), Saeed Saleh (38), Logan Turner (30), and Beatrice Warren-Curtis (36), according to police.
A further 27 victims suffered non life-threatening injuries and are still recovering, CNN reported.
Biehl confirmed in the presentation that the shooter had a criminal history, mostly comprising of traffic violations, speeding, failing to control his vehicle, and not yielding to other drivers with right of way.
The police chief also released a recording of a 911 emergency call with a witness claiming to have seen the shooter outside of the Newcombe Tavern.
“We have an active shooter on 5th Street … one man had a mask, he fired shots right outside of Newcombe Tavern,” the anonymous called can be heard saying. “I don’t know if he was black or white, he was wearing a mask and firing shots right outside of Newcombe.”
The witness can be heard warning other patrons to stay away from the shooter.
“Stay inside, stay the f**k inside,” the caller said. “We ran inside and barricaded the door.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Ohio State Patrol, and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office are some of the many law enforcement agencies now involved in searching Betts’ family home in Bellbrook, according to CNN.
Authorities discovered written content suggesting the shooter may have had a desire to kill people and there is no evidence to suggest the attack was politically or racially motivated.
“We do not have sufficient information to answer the question everyone wants to know: ‘Why?'” Biehl said. “We have no evidence [that] suggests that there is a bias motive in this crime at this time”
Mayor Nan Whaley expressed on social media that despite already enduring natural disasters and tragedies this year, the local community is resilient.
“In May, 14 tornados tore through our community, leaving a long path of destruction. Last night, a mass shooting took nine innocent lives and wounded more than two dozen people,” Whaley said on Facebook. “Our community has shown incredible resilience in the face of these tragedies and I’m sure Dayton will rise to this challenge as we always have. We look out for our neighbors in Dayton.”
The mayor described the community’s “love and support” as “overwhelming.”
“Please continue to keep the victims and their families in your prayers and thoughts in the coming days,” she said.
Anyone with information on the shooting is encouraged to contact Dayton Police Department by phoning 937-225‐6217.