Before August 2019, the Betts family consisted of the mother, father, and two children, Connor and Megan. Then, in a singular horrific act, Connor Betts, 24, took a firearm, and gunned down his own sister and eight other people in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
When it all ended, police shot Connor Betts to death outside a bar, and another 27 people were wounded. Police say they are still searching for a motive. It’s pretty impossible to find one on his parents’ public social media accounts anyway, where they painted a picture of a close family and posted about things like crab apples, dinners out, and their kids.
The parents – Steve and Moira Betts – did occasionally post about politics, with Moira criticizing the alt right and Steve chastising Republicans. Stephen Betts posted about gun deaths after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Here’s what you need to know about Connor Betts’ family:
1. Betts’ Dad, Steve Betts, Who Works in Technology, Urged a ‘Rational Discussion’ on Guns the Day after Sandy Hook
On Facebook, Steve Betts, Connor Betts’ father, posted biographical information about himself. He wrote that he was “technical Lead at Altamira Technologies Corporation” and former Software Lackey at General Dynamics – Advanced Information Systems.”
In addition, he said he was “Former Founder (company) at Minethurn Technology, Inc.” and had “Worked at MacAulay-Brown, Inc.” In 2014, he wrote, “Still looking for good software developers. Need senior to mid-level talent. Prefer Java and DoD experience. Must be capable of holding a clearance.”
Steve Betts wrote that he was from Kettering, Ohio, went to Fairmont West High School, and studied at Ohio State University.
On Facebook, Steve Betts filled his page with photos, including of his son, on birthdays and the like. He posted parody videos of songs. “Who woulda thunk you chicken nuggets are so good at a Mexican restaurant?” read a typical post. “Say on the deck drinking a beer and I have 3 mosquito bites on my right hand. It’s February! Die mosquito die!” read another, showing a typical life. He wrote about drinking beer, watching marching bands, frisbee, and his family’s crab apple tree.
“Anybody I know have a fruit press I can borrow? This year I seem to have 10,000 apples, and would like to make some apple cider. Or apple sauce. Or apple pies. Or something,” he wrote. “I just keep liking him less and less…” he wrote on a post about John Kasich in 2011.
He posted this video on guns:
And shared this:
He wrote on the comment thread, “Yes, clearly this is old. And the per capita ownership vs. crime is not clear. But it’s how, in entertainment, we can solve all our problems by shooting someone (preferably everyone). It’s how we don’t have conversations in politics. It’s how we dumb down our teaching. It’s how companies are cutting employee benefits to make more profit.”
He also wrote: “That’s completely wrong. Saying that discussion about the causes of the massacre is petty is exactly wrong. Trying to understand the causes of this tragedy is the only way to keep it from happening again. And keeping all the other children safe from this kind of crazy is the goal. How many more children have to die before we can have a rational discussion about this?” That was on December 15, 2012. That was the day after the Sandy Hook massacre at an elementary school.
In 2012, he wrote, “At dinner, my son says to me, ‘hey! I learned the red-neck national anthem! Wanna hear it?’ My response was ‘so your mother taught you that?’ So when I die tonight, you’ll know why…”
He did take some political stances on Facebook. He posted a cartoon championing net neutrality. He shared a video strongly critical of President Donald Trump. He shared an article headlined, “How 7 things that have nothing to do with rape perfectly illustrate the concept of consent.”
“People don’t go hungry in a capitalist society” — some dumbass talking about why we shouldn’t raise the minimum wage,” he wrote in 2014. In 2012, he shared a blog post and wrote, “Again, David spits the truth about Congress. Read the facts and weep, all ye who think the Republicans are working for your benefit.”
Megan responded, “Neither party is working for us, Dad. They’re working for themselves. Oh, and I have some science questions for you when you get home.”
In 2013, he wrote, “Yay! Let’s fix campaign finance!” He shared a Guardian article about the gap between the rich and poor that was headlined, “There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show.”
In 2011, he wrote, “our car is Japanese. Your vodka is Russian. Your pizza is Italian. Your kebab is Turkish. Your democracy is Greek. Your coffee is Brazilian. Your movies are American. Your tea is Tamil. Your shirt is Indian. Your oil is Saudi Arabian. Your electronics are Chinese. Your numbers Arabic, your letters Latin. And you complain that your neighbor is an immigrant? Pull yourself together! Copy if you’re against racism.”
In 2011, he wrote, “Picking up the band kids and taking them home. Not all of them, just mine.”
2. Betts’ Sister, Megan Betts, Was a Tour Guide for a Local Visitor Center
Police Chief Richard Biehl said Sunday at a press conference that Megan arrived at Ned Peppers bar with her brother and a companion but “separated” at some point. They say her companion was wounded but lived. She was shot in the same area as the other victims, according to police. The motive for why Connor shot and killed his sister is unknown. The companion was not named.
Megan would sometimes post on her parents’ comment threads. “Mama looks pretty all the time!” she wrote on one. Her mother responded, “Thank you, my darling babychica Megan Betts! And as you well know, you are BEAUTIFUL inside and out, all the time, dress or no dress! Love you, honey! ?”
According to her Facebook page, Megan worked as a tour guide at the Missoula Smokejumper Visitor Center in Montana. Megan wrote that she was beginning her senior year at Wright State University’s Department of Biological Sciences in Dayton in the fall of 2019.
Megan’s supervisor at the center, Daniel Cottrell, told the Washington Post that Megan was a “very positive person. We really enjoyed the time that she spent working her for us. She was full of life and really passionate. She was a very caring individual.”
She wrote on LinkedIn: “I’m a hardworking employee who understands company loyalty and the need to do the best for our customers. Always tries to find a way to make sure everyone’s happy. An expert with time management and very organized.”
You can read more about Megan Betts here.
2. Betts’ Mother, Moira Cofer Betts, Filled Her Facebook Page With Family Pictures & Advocated for Looking at Each Other With a ‘Kinder Eye’
On Facebook, where her page remained active after the shooting, Betts’ mom, Moira Betts, presented a picture of a happy life and normal family. “My house is an awful lot like a service station- people are always going in and out, we never close, lights are always on and someone is always standing in front of the refrigerator looking for food. ?” she wrote.
Her top visible posts were of lanterns and pumpkins. She posted photos of her children. With one photo of Megan and Connor together, she wrote, “my loves.”
“It’s very true, women usually are insanely critical of themselves and it’s so unnecessary and so damaging. And we pass that insecurity onto the next generation,” she wrote on her husband’s comment thread. “We need to look at ourselves with a kinder eye.”
She jokingly posted a photo of a devil with top hat tattoo in 2018 and wrote her husband, “Here ya go, Steve Betts! December 11th, 2018!” She also posted photos of the beach and family dog. She shared photos of Christian religious statues.
Moira wrote that her own dad was an English teacher and World War 2 veteran.
“Parenting win-This year both my kids wrote me birthday cards that made me cry. ?” she wrote. “My loves. So proud to be their mom! ❤️” she wrote with another photo of Connor and Megan.
On Facebook, her visible posts didn’t get that political – except for a graphic she shared criticizing the alt right.
In 2018, she wrote, “I’m a very lucky mama that when I text my kiddos they usually respond quickly and, almost always with a smiley face.I of course, delight in responding back but may go overboard with lots of stars and smileys and other things. This was pointed out to me today….Connor- ‘I regret ever teaching you about emojis.’ ?????”
She wrote: “Yesterday was my last day working at the Pier and I’m going to miss all these fabulous ladies SO much!! Thank you all for making my job a spectacular place to be, filled with laughter, craziness, fun and love. You all have changed my life for the better and I’m so grateful! Love you, my Pier 1 chicas!! ❤️”
4. Police Expressed Empathy for Betts’ Parents
The parents have been married since 1988. They live in Bellbrook, Ohio, which is near Dayton.
According to USA Today, Moira and Stephen Betts “got the news within hours of the shooting.” The FBI and police have been searching their home while looking for a motive.
“We don’t know the why, we don’t know the whats,” said Bellbrook Police Chief Doug Doherty, according to USA Today. “But we do know that there’s a mom and dad down there that are really hurting.”
5. Connor, Who Still Lived With His Parents, Showed Warning Signs Back in High School & Was in a Pornogrind Band
There were serious red flags that all was not well with Connor Betts. That news has come from former high school classmates, who have taken to Facebook, Twitter and the news media to claim that Betts had a hit list in high school and it wasn’t taken seriously enough.
“This isn’t a mystery to me,” one of Betts’ classmates told the Dayton Daily News. “I’m furious.” Spencer Brickler, a classmate of Betts’, told CNN that he was told his sister was on the hit list, and another classmate said the list had two columns, a kill list and rape list.
It’s not clear what his parents did in response to that, and the school system isn’t saying much, either, but classmates painted Connor Betts as a bully who mistreated women. Chenoa Sandoval wrote on Facebook, “Before the Media portrays this full grown man as an innocent kid who was damaged in high school due to bullying I want to set the record straight right now. Connor Betts had a history of serious harrassment (sic( towards fellow female students. Some of which were my friends or siblings of friends. He had a notebook with detailed information on how he wanted to hurt fellow female students.”
Betts was also in a “Pornogrind” Band that, according to Vice News, “released songs about raping and killing women.” Vice called it the “extreme metal music scene.” The bands he performed in sometimes were called Menstrual Munchies and Putrid Liquid, and the songs contained vile names like “6 Ways of Female Butchery” and “Preeteen Daughter Pu$$y Slaughter,” Vice reported.
You can read about the hit list here.