The gunman who attacked a bar in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday morning killed his sister in the massacre, officials said.
Connor Betts, 24, of Ohio was identified as the deceased gunman by authorities during a Sunday afternoon press conference. Betts killed his sister, 22-year-old Megan, and eight other people, officials added. At least 26 other people were injured.
Betts drove to the site of the shooting with his sister and an unidentified male companion, according to Police Chief Richard Biehl. Betts killed his sister and wounded the companion, who is now reportedly cooperating with police. According to two law-enforcement sources who spoke to CNN, authorities do not believe the companion knew about the attack in advance.
Betts opened fire outside of a bar called Ned Peppers in the city’s Oregon District, a downtown hub filled with bars, clubs, restaurants, and galleries. Authorities said police officers responded within one minute of the gunfire erupting and killed Betts as he attempted to enter the bar with a rifle, body armor, and a high-capacity magazine.
“We will never know how many lives were saved,” Gov. Mike DeWine said at a Sunday afternoon press conference. “The police department and the mayor gave me, my wife and I, the tour. The assailant was obviously very, very close to being able to kill dozens and dozens more people.”
Police searched Betts’ home, where he reportedly lived with his sister. Authorities did not offer a motive for the shooting. However, high-school classmates of the gunman told the Associated Press that he had a history of violent ideation and was suspended in 2012 for compiling a “hit list” of those he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of females he wanted to sexually assault.
Two former classmates at Bellbrook High School, a man and a woman who the AP granted anonymity out of their fear of harassment, said Betts was twice suspended for the threats. The woman said she had been contacted by the police at the time, as her name was on the “rape list.”
Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools officials declined to comment to the AP about the accounts, but confirmed that Betts attended schools in the district. The school’s principal, Chris Baker, said he “would not dispute that information” when the Dayton Daily News asked him Sunday about the hit-list suspension.
Bellbrook Police Chief Doug Doherty told reporters on Sunday that he has spoken to Betts’ parents, describing them as “victims.” “I’ve been in contact with the parents—victims—they’re just asking for continued privacy and patience as they move forward with this horrific event,” Doherty said. When asked how they are handling the situation, Doherty said they are “aware of everything that’s happened... they are victims, and we’re treating them as such.”
Initial reports by The Dayton Daily News indicate that Betts did not have a criminal record except for minor traffic violations. An initial sweep of his known social-media profiles show no obvious link to any extremist ideology. Betts’ Facebook profile had been taken offline Sunday morning. The background check did also not show that Betts had a concealed-weapon license.
According to what appears to be his LinkedIn page, he was a psychology student at Sinclair Community College who’d held jobs at a local gas station and a Chipotle.