Dayton gunman shot 26 people in 32 seconds before police killed him, officials say
The gunman who carried out the Aug. 4 mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio spent nearly two hours in the area before he opened fire, killing nine people and injuring 17 more, according to newly released surveillance footage pieced together from several local businesses.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said Tuesday that 24-year-old Connor Betts shot 26 people in the span of 32 seconds before responding officers fatally shot him outside of Blind Bob's bar. Previously, police and hospital officials said at least 14 injured people suffered gunshots wounds. Overall, 15 of the people shot that night were female and 11 were male.
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Betts was first caught on camera in the area at 11:04 p.m. when he parked his car and walked to Blind Bob's with his sister Megan and another companion.
Police said the footage "strongly suggests that his [the siblings'] companion," who was wounded in the rampage, "had no idea what he [Betts] was gonna do nor did he have any knowledge of the weapons that were in the trunk of that vehicle."
All three of them went to Blind Bob's, where they remained until 12:13 a.m. Betts left the bar alone and went across the street to another bar, Ned Peppers, staying there until 12:42 a.m.
Betts, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, then left Ned Peppers and headed back in the direction of the parking lot, crossing paths with a police cruiser that was in the area, Lt. Paul Saunders said during a press conference.
Biehl said there is a "strong probability" that Betts went into Ned Peppers to case it but added, "he was very familiar with the Oregon district so this was not a place that he did not know."
"This was a plan well before he got to the Oregon district," Biehl said noting that its unlikely that anything happened inside of the bars that made the shooter decide to carry out his rampage.
Police say the shooter went back to his car and spent eight minutes changing into a long sleeve dark hoodie and "gathering content out of the trunk of that vehicle," which included a "very heavy backpack."
Authorities say Betts spent about nine minutes making his way from the parking lot towards the strip of bars again, through an alley connecting the two and used that time to load his AR-15 style gun before he emerged from behind the alley and opened fire near Blind Bob's at 1:04 a.m.
Police confirmed that the shooter's sister, Megan Betts, was one of the first three fatalities, but Biehl conceded that law enforcement officials had "radically different views" about whether the shooter intentionally killed his sister first.
Biehl revealed that phone evidence from that night showed that the shooter texted back and forth with his sister and their companion as soon as seven minutes before the shooting began and that the companion told Betts that they were at a taco stand near Blind Bob's.
Biehl said Betts "did know where they were at because they were communicating during this hour back and forth."
Biehl also said that Betts and his sister spoke on the phone before the shooting, although it is unclear the content of the phone call. Despite knowing their whereabouts, police said they could not conclusively say whether the shooter could see his sister and her companion from his vantage point across from Blind Bob's, as they may have been obscured by the decor of the bar, which included umbrellas on the patio.
"By our best resources that we have at our fingertips, we believe that the shooting started at approximately 1:05 and 35 seconds. We believe it ended at 1:06 and 7 seconds; that's 32 seconds" Saunders said.
Biehl's said that although Betts was wearing body armor throughout the shooting, the armor was "vulnerable," allowing responding officers to shoot and kill him.
"He had (ballistic) plates but that's all," Biehl's said.
Although authorities could not confirm the shooter's motive, Biehl's said Betts had a "history of obsession with violence and violence ideations, the discussion of interests in mass shootings and the expression of desire to carry out a mass shooting."
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Biehl's said Betts was in the Oregon District the night before the shooting, adding you "certainly have to consider there was some thought being given to it at that time."
Police found some evidence of drug paraphernalia "on his person" but whether Betts was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs remains uncertain pending toxicology reports, Biehl said.
Authorities have said there was nothing in Betts' background to prevent him from buying the gun, stating that the weapon was purchased online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to another firearms dealer in the Dayton area.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.