The gunman who fatally shot nine people -- including his sister -- and injured more than two dozen in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday was “anti-Second Amendment” and “never spit out a conservative opinion on gun control,” according to a former classmate and friend.
The 24-year-old gunman, who was killed by police less than a minute after he opened fire with an AR-15-style rifle outside a crowded bar, attended Bellbrook High School with Will El-Fakir, the Dayton Daily News reported. Although Fox News has identified him, neither his name nor his photo are being aired or published unless necessary for clarity.
El-Fakir told the paper he stopped talking to him five months ago after the future killer held a gun to his head.
El-Fakir told the paper that his former pal was “definitely not a right-leaning person. His political views definitely leaned to the left. And believe it or not, he was actually pro-gun control. He was actually anti-Second Amendment.”
“I don’t know if this is the motive that made him snap,” El-Fakir told the Dayton Daily News.
In the last months of their friendship, El-Fakir said his troubled friend was getting violent with pals and surveyed bars as good places to do “damage.”
A Twitter feed which appears to have belonged to the suspect also showed left-leaning tweets lamenting the 2016 election of President Trump. The account @iamthespookster didn't bear his name, but did show selfies that resembled known photos of him.
Twitter took the account down late Sunday, fueling speculation that it belonged to the gunman. The killer also appeared to support 2020 Democratic presidential contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, according to The Associated Press.
The account stands in contrast to the one operated by the man accused of a shooting massacre in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday that claimed 22 lives. That 21-year-old suspect espoused anti-immigrant leanings, according to a manifesto authorities allege was his.
Authorities believe he wrote the 2,300-word manifesto titled “The Inconvenient Truth,” which lambasted the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and spoke of dividing the United States into separate territories on race.
The manifesto, which appeared online minutes before the El Paso shooting, begins by championing the shooter who killed 51 Muslims at two mosques in New Zealand earlier this year. It also mentioned a white supremacist theory called “The Great Replacement,” a belief that a secret society is seeking to eliminate the white race by replacing them with immigrants and refugees, the Washington Post reported.
The Dayton gunman was reportedly suspended during his sophomore year of high school for compiling a “hit list” of those he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault.
Following a police investigation, Betts returned to school and had nothing on his record that would have prevented him from buying the weapon used in Sunday’s mass shooting, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said.
In middle school, he also allegedly told a female classmate he fantasized about slitting her throat. In an attempt to get him help, the girl and her parents approached school administration but they said they weren’t taken seriously.
The gunman’s sister, Megan Betts, 22, a student at Wright State University, was among the nine people who died in the shooting. Police have not released a motive.