Adelia Johnson, Connor Betts’ ex-girlfriend, says that the Ned Peppers bar shooter had spoken about his depression to her. Johnson has also said that she was not shocked by Betts’ actions. In an interview with CBS News, Johnson said, “I’m not shocked he did something horrific. I am shocked that he did it to this level.”
In the early hours of August 4, Connor Betts shot-and-killed nine people and wounded dozens more at Ned Peppers’ bar in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio. Betts, 24, in turn, was shot dead by responding police officers. Among the dead was Betts’ sister, Megan, 22. Betts had arrived in the area of the bar with his sister and her friend. The pair separated at some point.
Later, Betts would go to retrieve a gun, mask and body armor. He was shot dead less than a minute after he began shooting.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Johnson Has Called Betts: ‘The Product of a Failed System’
In a blog on Medium that was published on August 6, Johnson wrote of her belief that Betts was “the product of a failed system.” Johnson told the Toledo Blade that Betts told her that he twice had a gun in his mouth with the intention of committing suicide but could not pull the trigger.
During an interview with NBC News, Johnson said, “People go every day being perfectly fine with having a mental illness, me included, and he just got the short end of the stick. No support system… This is a man who was in pain and didn’t get the help that he needed.”
Johnson wrote in her Medium blog post, “A system that stigmatized mental health and recovery. A system that makes the mentally ill feel broken and unworthy of help. He didn’t want to seek help because of the stigma, he just wanted to better and he didn’t know how.”
Johnson said that she and Betts bonded while they studied at Sinclair Community College in January 2019. In her blog post, Johnson wrote that the pair met in a psychology class and formed a bond over their shared struggles with mental illness.
2. Johnson Says She Broke Up With Betts Because He Became Too Aggressive
Johnson said that she broke up with Betts via text message after he became too aggressive in May 2019. The couple dated for just a few months with Johnson telling CBS News that they began dating in March 2019. Following the break-up, Johnson told the Toledo Blade that she was scared that Betts might hurt her and referred to the gunman as “spooky.”
After their first date at Bar Louie in The Green Town Center in Beavercreek, according to the Toledo Blade, Johnson said that Betts, while the pair were both drunk, showed her a video of the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh in October 2018. Johnson also wrote that Betts talked regularly about serial killer Ted Bundy.
Johnson shared text messages she had exchanged with Betts during their relationship with the Toledo Blade. Johnson asked Betts about how much he knew about tragedies and shootings. Betts texted, “I’m just a fountain of joy and wonderful, not-scarring knowledge.”
Around that period, Johnson says that Betts told her that he wanted to “hurt a lot of people.” During one of their dates, Johnson told NBC News that Betts had taken to her to a gun range and was performing in a band with “sexually violent lyrics.”
In her interview with CBS News, Johnson said that Bett was “interested in what makes terrible people do terrible things.” Following their break-up, Johnson said the pair had a brief interaction when he texted her to make sure she was okay after tornadoes struck close to where she was living.
3. On the Day of the Ned Peppers Shooting, Johnson Said a Friend Texted Her to Ask if Betts Was the Gunman
In another section of her blog post, Johnson writes that on the morning of the Ned Peppers shooting, friends from college texted her to ask if the shooter was Betts. Johnson’s initial reaction was,” What a weird question to ask.” It was only after Googling Betts’ name that it was revealed that her ex-boyfriend was the gunman.
In that section, Johnson says that she had been in Orlando at the time of the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2017.
On the morning of the Ned Peppers shooting, Johnson told the Toledo Blade that she texted Betts saying, “Hey. Are you okay?” There was no response.
Johnson wrote of her feelings after discovering that Betts was the gunman, “My ex-boyfriend was a mass murderer. My ex-boyfriend was a mass murderer. I still don’t know how to wrap my head around that. That man who was so sweet to me and told me he loved me was a mass murderer. I kissed a mass murderer.”
Despite the fact that the majority of those who died were African-American, Betts rejected the notion that race had anything to do with the motives telling NBC News, “This isn’t about race, this isn’t about religion, it’s none of those things. This is a man who was in pain and didn’t get the help that he needed.”
4. On Social Media, Johnson Refers to Herself as an Artist, Writer & Model
On her Instagram page, Johnson refers to herself as an artist, model and writer. In one bio, Johnson said, “Let’s talk about mental health.” Her most recent Instagram post shows a photo of Johnson’s dog accompanied by the caption, “Thank you for providing the only sense of normalcy in my life right now.” Johnson wrote in her Twitter bio that she was attempting to switch to studying astrophysics.
In a series of tweets addressing her various interviews, Adelia said, “I want everyone to remember that most people do not have the capacity to remember everything. There will be holes in my story because surprise! I don’t remember everything. I’m trying the best that I can.”
Johnson told the Toledo Blade that during her relationship with Betts, she revealed that she was a polyamorist and had previously been engaged.
5. Another Ex-Girlfriend of Betts’ Says He Would Often Talk About the ‘Dark, Evil’ Things in His Head
Lyndsi Doll, who also dated Betts for a time, told the Washington Post that he would regularly talk to her about the “dark, evil” things in his head. Doll said in her Post interview, “He would tell me about the voices in his head.”
Doll also said Betts would cry to her and say that he was afraid that he might one day hurt people. Doll said that she dated Betts while the pair were in high school together.
Johnson told the Toledo Blade that while they were together, Betts had tracked down a former girlfriend and sent her a letter saying “something to the effect of,” “Welcome to the neighborhood. You can’t escape your past.” Johnson asked him why he had done that to which he responded saying he thought it was funny.
Johnson wrote about that incident in her Medium post saying, “He tried to downplay it as a joke. But I knew it wasn’t, so I pushed further. He admitted that sometimes he got uncontrollable urges to do things… I took that opportunity to try and show him a coping method. We pulled into a parking lot, jammed the letter in a hole under a parking block, and lit the letter on fire, watching it to make sure the pieces didn’t fly off and start a wildfire.”