The sister of the Ohio gunman Connor Betts was shot dead by him after they drove together to the downtown Dayton area where he launched his massacre, according to police.
Megan Betts and her brother drove together to the Oregon District before they went separate ways, police told NBC News.
Investigators said that after they separated, Connor Betts began his shooting spree, although Megan Betts was not his first victim.
Police say the first victim was shot in an alley where the car was parked.
Connor Betts then emerged onto East Fifth Street and ran toward Ned Peppers bar while firing, killing another eight people including his sister.
‘She was not the first victim,’ Police Chief Richard S. Biehl said of Megan Betts.
‘But she was one of the initial victims.’
‘Right as he came out of the alleyway, she and another male who was a companion of the suspect was shot and wounded,’ Biehl said.
‘So they were victims initially after the first person was shot.’
Megan Betts’s companion was among the 27 people wounded. He has been interviewed by law enforcement.
Connor Betts was wearing body armor when he gunned down patrons outside the Ned Peppers Bar in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio, around 1 am on Sunday.
Officers arrived at the scene immediately, and were able to ‘put an end to it quickly’, Lt Col Matt Carper said at a press conference.
Betts, of Bellbrook, was identified as the suspect around noon. He was shot dead by responding officers.
Because officers were in the area when the shooting started, they killed Betts in ‘less than a minute,’ authorities said.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said during a Sunday morning press conference that had the police not responded so quickly, ‘hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today’.
Whaley said Betts was carrying a .223-caliber rifle and had additional high-capacity magazines with him. Betts opened fire on the bar from the street.
The mayor said a community vigil is planned for the victims at 8 pm on Sunday evening.
Police issued a search warrant on Betts’ home earlier on Sunday and are still trying to establish a motive.
Though several African-American men and women were killed during the attack, police said they haven’t found any indications that the shooting was one of a racial or political motive.
However, police did find writings that suggest Betts had an interest in killing people.
‘It’s a very tragic incident and we’re doing everything we can to investigate it and try to identify the motivation behind this,’ Carper said.
At least 27 others are being treated at area hospitals, though no details about their conditions have been released. At least one person is in critical condition.
Miami Valley Hospital spokeswoman Terrea Little said 16 of the victims were brought to the hospital, but she couldn’t confirm their conditions.
Kettering Health Network spokeswoman Elizabeth Long said multiple victims from the shooting had been brought to system hospitals, but she didn’t have details on how many.
Authorities said of the 27 injured, 15 have been discharged from the hospital and several people remain in serious or critical condition.
According to his LinkedIn page, Betts attended Sinclair Community College where he studied psychology between 2017-2019. He had been working at a Chipotle in Centerville.
Before Chipotle, Betts worked at a Marathon gas station.
‘I was their go-to guy for anything that needed to be done – changing lights, painting the walls, covering shifts. Beyond that, I worked the weekend shifts for 3 years – Friday through Sunday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Unfortunately, I started school and Chipotle, and I had to drop Marathon,’ he wrote.
Betts’ sister, Megan, was studying biological sciences at Wright State University, according to her Facebook page.
The two appeared to be really close as Facebook photos show them smiling for the camera.
Brickhouse was among the first victims to be identified. She leaves behind a six-year-old son.
According to a friend, Brickhouse was with her friend, Curtis, when they were both killed.
Ogelsby had just had her second child in June. Several photos on her Facebook page show the young mother cradling her baby girl, Reign.
She also had another young daughter.
Cumer was a graduate student in the master of cancer care program at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania.
He had completed his undergraduate work at the university as an exercise physiology major.
The university’s president, Fr. Malachi Van Tassell, released a statement explaining that Cumer had been in Dayton ‘as part of his internship program with the Maple Tree Cancer Alliance’.
‘Nicholas was dedicated to caring for others. He was recognized at the 2019 Community Engagement Awards among students who had completed 100+ hours of service.
‘In addition, he was a graduate assistant with the university marching band. We join the nation in mourning Nicholas, alongside all of the victims of this tragedy,’ the statement reads.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends during this most difficult time. A Mass in Nicholas’ memory will be arranged on campus this week, and we will share other arrangements as we learn of them.’
The university is also providing counseling services for community members. The Counseling Office may be reached at 814-472-3211.
The Ohio shooting is the second mass shooting in the US in less than 24 hours.
‘All of our staff is safe and our hearts go out to everyone involved as we gather information,’ the post reads.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the Dayton shooting and is monitoring the situation, Deputy Press Secretary Steven Groves said.
In a series of tweets on Sunday morning, Trump said ‘information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton’.
‘God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio,’ he said in another tweet.
The president condemned both shootings as ‘hateful and cowardly acts’. He also ordered that the flags at the White House, all public government buildings and facilities abroad to be lowered to half staff until sunset on August 8.
Democratic Sen Sherrod Brown of Ohio says ‘thoughts and prayers are not enough’ after a shooter killed nine people and wounded dozens more before he was killed by police in Dayton.
In a statement Sunday, Brown says he is angry that state and national lawmakers won’t pass more gun safety laws.
Several proposals have been introduced in the GOP-led Legislature this session that would tighten requirements on firearms sales, transfers, and storage.
A gun safety group is also pushing to change state law to require background checks on nearly all guns sales.
The Republican who leads the Ohio Senate also shared a statement praising the quick response from Dayton police.
Just before noon on Sunday, Bellbrook, Ohio, Police Chief Doug Doherty announced that authorities served a search warrant at the home of the gunman.
It is unclear what evidence has been collected from the home.
Nikita Papillon, 23, was across the street at Newcom’s Tavern when the shooting started. She said she saw a girl she had talked to earlier lying outside the bar.
‘She had told me she liked my outfit and thought I was cute, and I told her I liked her outfit and I thought she was cute,’ Papillon said.
She herself had been to Ned Peppers the night before, describing it as the kind of place ‘where you don’t have to worry about someone shooting up the place.’
‘People my age, we don’t think something like this is going to happen,’ she said. ‘And when it happens, words can’t describe it.’
Tianycia Leonard, 28, was in the back, smoking, at Newcom’s. She heard ‘loud thumps’ that she initially thought was people pounding on a dumpster.
‘It was so noisy, but then you could tell it was gunshots and there was a lot of rounds,’ Leonard said.
Gov Mike DeWine issued his own statement before 7 am, announcing that he’s ordered flags in Ohio remain at half-mast and offered assistance to Whaley.
‘Fran and I are absolutely heartbroken over the horrible attack that occurred this morning in Dayton, the statement said.
‘We join those across Ohio and this country in offering our prayers to victims and their families.’
Police scanners initially stated a second shooter could have left the area in a dark-colored Jeep, but police later stated there was only one suspect who was shot dead.
The FBI is assisting with the investigation.
In a Facebook live post, a witness claimed the gunman was wearing a bulletproof vest and earmuffs.
He said: ‘[The shooter] came up with an AR-15, had a vest on, earmuffs just started blowing bullets everywhere. I’m safe. There are casualties everywhere.’
The witness said the attacker was a ‘white man in all black with an AR’ who opened fire for 30 seconds ‘killing or injuring 10 to 20 people’.
On social media, customers at the bar said that many people were ‘piling on top of each other to get out’.
The Oregon District is a historic neighborhood that Carper described as ‘a safe part of downtown,’ home to entertainment options, including bars, restaurants, and theaters.
‘This is extremely unusual, obviously, for any community, let alone Dayton,’ Carper said. ‘In our Oregon District, this is unheard of.’
A family assistance center was set up at the Dayton Convention Center.
Another witness said the attacker shot people sitting outside then tried to get into the bar but was stopped at the door.
James Williams: ‘Sad people are not right. I’m safe. Happened right in front of the patio where I was sitting in front of Neds. The guy in front of Ned Peppers’ door is the active shooter.
‘He tried to go into the bar but did not make it through the door. Someone took the gun from him and he got shot and is dead.
‘There are at least eight people dead right by the picnic table where I was on the street. A bunch of people taken to the hospital. I don’t know how any… this place is a disaster.’
On Twitter, one witness said he was ‘the next person to get my ID checked’ in the line for Ned Peppers Bar, ‘when the dude started shooting five feet from me’.
In an earlier tweet, he said: ‘Police just killed dude five feet in front of me… I can’t go out in this city anymore.’
A man identifying himself as Jeff told local media he is a bouncer at a bar next door to Ned Peppers and was 20 feet from the gunman and saw the muzzle flashes.
He added: ‘He damaged our city.’
Officers also reportedly checked other nearby bars to check if there are any further victims or if the attacker targeted other establishments.
The latest massacre came around 14 hours after America’s 10th worst mass shooting which saw 20 people shot dead and 26 injured when a gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday.
Patrick Crusius wrote an anti-immigrant manifesto published on an online forum detailing his hatred of Hispanic people.
The 21-year-old wrote, ‘I’m probably going to die today’ in his 2,300-word manifesto titled ‘The Inconvenient Truth’.
He went on to say his gun massacre, which is the worst attack in the US of 2019 so far, was inspired directly by the shootings of two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand earlier this year, which left 51 people dead.
Just days before, on July 28, the 19-year-old suspected gunman, William Legan, shot and killed three people, including two children, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California.
The El Paso shooting was the 21st mass killing in the US in 2019, according to the Northeastern University mass murder database that tracks all US homicides.
That makes Sunday’s shooting in Dayton the 22nd mass killed in the US this year.
The first 20 mass killings in the US in 2019 claimed 96 lives.
On Sunday, Pope Francis condemned the attacks on ‘defenseless people’ in the spate of gun violence in the US.
Speaking to thousands of pilgrims and tourists in St Peter’s Square for his Sunday message and blessing, Francis said he was spiritually close to the victims, the wounded and the families affected by attacks he said had ‘bloodied Texas, California, and Ohio’.
Francis said all three attacks targeted ‘defenseless people’.
Francis, who has in the past criticized the gun manufacturing industry, then led the crowd in reciting a Hail Mary for the victims.
Democratic presidential candidates have pointed a finger of blame at Trump following the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
In television interviews, several urged additional gun restrictions such as universal background checks. But they also cited Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and racial language.
Julian Castro, who previously served as San Antonio mayor and US housing secretary, pointed to a ‘toxic brew’ of white nationalism and says Trump needs to do more to ‘unite Americans instead of fanning the flames of bigotry’.
Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, accused Trump of being a white nationalist and says he is encouraging ‘open racism’.
New Jersey senator Cory Booker says Trump bears responsibility because he has done nothing to call out rising hatred in the US.
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