An active shooter wearing a mask and body armor killed at least nine people and wounded at least 26 more at Ned Peppers bar in Dayton, Ohio just hours after a gunman in El Paso, Texas shot and killed 20 people at a Walmart, police confirmed. Authorities referred to the Dayton shooting as a “mass casualty incident” on the scanner. In total, 10 people were killed in the shooting, including the suspect, who was killed by responding officers, officials said.
The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts of Bellbrook, Ohio, CBS News reports. You can read more about Betts here. He worked for a chain restaurant and was a college student, according to his LinkedIn page. His sister Megan Betts, and her boyfriend, were also found shot to death. You can read about Megan Betts here. Betts had no violent criminal history or obvious social media presence.
Authorities have now named the 9 deceased victims. Authorities have now named the 9 deceased victims. In addition to Megan Betts, they are Lois Oglesby, black female, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38, black male; Logan Turner, white male, 30; Nicholas P. Cumer, white male, 25; Thomas J. McNichols, black male, 25; Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, black female, 36; Monica E. Brickhouse, black female, 39; and Derrick R. Fudge, black male, 57. You can read tributes to the victims here.
Assistant Police Chief Matt Carper said at a press conference that just after 1 a.m. on August 4, 2019, there was an “active shooter situation in the Oregon District… we had one shooter that we are aware of and multiple victims. Right now, the shooter is deceased from gunshot wounds from the responding officers. We have nine victims deceased in addition to that, and we have approximately 16 more victims hospitalized right now in unknown conditions…This is a very tragic incident.”
He said police are working to “see what possible motivation there might have been. The suspect was firing a long gun with multiple rounds at the victims.” Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown said in an appearance on CNN that the suspect is a white male and a resident of Montgomery County, the county where Dayton is located. Carper said the convention center was being opened up with resources for family members, and the FBI is at the scene. He said the shooting “all occurred outside.” Investigators believe that there was only one suspect in the shooting.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Dayton’s Mayor Says the Gunman Used a .223-Caliber High Capacity Magazine Rifle & Was Wearing Body Armor
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley told the media in a 7 a.m. press conference that the gunman used a .223-caliber high-capacity magazine rifle. Mayor Whaley said the shooter wore a mask covering his face. The mayor added, “If the Dayton police had not gotten to the shooter in under a minute, hundreds of people in the Oregon District would be dead today. This is the 250th mass shooting in America. It’s sad that it’s in the city of Dayton.” The suspect was wearing body armor and had extra magazines on him at the time when he was killed.
Miami Valley Hospital spokesperson Terrea Little had earlier told MSNBC that the hospital has received 16 victims, eight of those people were later discharged. Kettering Medical Center has nine victims across their three hospitals. At least two of those have been treated and released. Dr. Randy Marriott, an ER doctor at Miami Valley Hospital, told the Dayton Daily News that the majority of those being treated had suffered gunshot wounds to the lower body.
“It’s a very short timeline of violence,” Carper said because multiple Dayton police officers took down the suspect. Officials said that, as the area around the bar is a popular nightlife area, there were police on regular patrol in the vicinity of Ned Peppers bar.
2. Eyewitnesses Say the Suspect Was Denied Entry to the Bar But Police Have Not Confirmed That Account
The Dayton Daily News reports that eyewitnesses to the attack say that the gunman had been refused entry to the bar. Those rumors have not been confirmed. Officials have not said what they believe the motive for the shooting is.
A graphic video was posted to Facebook showing bodies lying on the sidewalk covered with sheets as uniformed police officers stood guard. “Sad people are not right,” wrote a man named James Williams on Facebook, who posted it, and said he was an eyewitness. “I’m safe happened Right in front of the patio where I was sitting in front of Neds the guy in front of Ned peppers door is the active shooter he tried to go into the bar but did not make it through the door someone took the gun from him and he got shot and is dead. There are at least eight people dead right by the picnic table where I was at on street. A bunch of people was taken to the hospital I don’t know how many this place is a disaster.”
In a separate video he posted on Facebook, Williams claimed, “We had an active shooter with an AR 15. Came up with an AR 15 with a vest on and ear muffs and just started blowing bullets everywhere…there are casualties everywhere. Outside Ned Peppers, there were at least eight victims. I don’t know how many people they took away from other locations… it’s awful.”
Initial scanner traffic indicated police were exploring whether there was more than one shooter, but they said later they thought there was only one, who has not been named. “It’s not confirmed, but there might be other shooters…” police said on the scanner, saying that they were putting out the unconfirmed information for officer safety. They were also setting up a command post. Scanner reports from that time indicated from the start that there were multiple victims.
3. Graphic Videos From the Scene of the Shooting Have Been Circulating on Social Media
Terrified people posted accounts on social media. “Wow could’ve lost my life tonight at Ned peppers, I’m still shaking prayers for the ones who didn’t make it … thanks for reaching out I’m safe ?” wrote one woman on Facebook. A man told friends on Facebook that he was too “busy trying to survive honestly smh I just know I saw them trying to resuscitate multiple people.”
James Williams, who said he was an eyewitness, wrote, “People this is awful I’ve never seen nothing like this in my whole life.” A video captured heavy gunfire (be aware that the language is very graphic in it.)
“Shots fired! Shots fired!” an officer shouts in archived scanner audio, which you can listen to here. The dispatcher indicates the shooting occurred in the Oregon District. At one point, an officer said on the scanner that it looked like 9 to 10 people were shot.
“We got shots fired. We got multiple people down. We need multiple medics…We need to shut the whole street down….We think there’s one shooter. He’s down. We’re looking for a second shooter,” says an officer in the audio. (There are often incorrect reports of multiple shooters in the early moments of active shooter incidents, and it was clear that officers were trying to get a handle on a chaotic situation with possibly conflicting early information on that point. As noted, Dayton police later said they believe there is probably only one shooter.)
4. Officials Have Described the Area Where the Shooting Took Place as ‘Normally Very Safe’
Carper said in the press conference that the area where the shooting occurred is normally very safe. The Dayton Daily News reported in March 2019 that the city had 37 murders in 2018, an increase of four on the year previous.
Scanner audio – and multiple Twitter reports – indicated the shooting was focused around Ned Peppers. The Ned Peppers’ website describes it as a “traditional western-ish themed bar located right in the heart of the Oregon District in Dayton Ohio.”
Ned Peppers wrote on Facebook, “All of our staff is safe and our hearts go out to everyone involved as we gather information.” A bouncer from a bar located next door to Ned Peppers, named as Jeff, told the Dayton Daily News that he was 20 feet from the gunman when the gunfire began. Jeff said that he saw muzzle flashes from the gun. Jeff added, “He damaged our city.”
“We have one with a head wound,” an officer said at another point on the scanner. “We just need all the medics. We need the first medic in Ned Peppers…right now. We’ve got several down,” an officer says. “Shooter is down.”
According to WHIO-TV, police were “responding to a report of an active shooter in the area of East 5th Street in the Oregon District.” The television station reported initially that multiple people were shot, the shooter may be down, and “medics are responding to the area.” The Dayton Daily News had a similar account.
The following video contains graphic language. The man speaking in it talks about bodies lying on the street and says at least 40 shots were fired.
Daniel Williams wrote on Twitter: “There was an active shooter in the bar i was in tonight. I am told that he had an AR15. (A friend) and I are ok. I am so incredibly heartbroken for those affected by this. I have never been so scared in my life.”
Williams then responded to another person and wrote, “…I’m still not sure exactly what happened. People were piling on top of each other to get out. It’s all a blur. F-cking awful.”
Williams’ friend then tweeted, “We heard gunshots while on the patio.. ran indoors only to be shoved back out because the shots were coming from inside the bar. We ran for our lives and hopped a fence trampling multiple people in the process/hid anywhere we could.”
Another man wrote: “They just shot up ned peppers while I was in line…. police just killed dude 5 feet in front of me… I can’t go out in this city anymore ?.” Authorities have not confirmed whether the shooter is dead or how that occurred, though.
Taylor Mayberry wrote, “Me and (friend’s name) made it out of Nedpeppers safe. Scariest thing of my life. Prayers for all of the people who didn’t make it out ?.”
“Reports of an active shooter with multiple victims in Dayton so I’m laying in bed listening to scanners and hearing them call for homicide detectives. Is not even been 24 hours… This country has gone mad,” wrote one woman on Twitter.
“If you got fam at Oregon district.. check on them ??,” wrote one man on Twitter. “I was on the phone w my boy & gun shots start going off right next to him.. hella rounds smh Dayton is cursed.”
A woman wrote: “It’s so sad you can’t go out anymore and feel at peace, I’m so thankful all of my friends were safe during the shooting that just happened in the Oregon district in Dayton. A place we all felt safe in for the most part ! Check in on your dayton friends !”
You can listen to live scanner traffic here.
On Facebook, the Oregon District bills itself as “Dayton’s favorite dining, shopping, and entertainment destination,” and adds, “Come explore the galleries, shops, restaurants, bars, and businesses that call the Oregon District home. Oregon is Dayton’s oldest neighborhood, dating back to the 19th century, and its creative inhabitants are passionate about preserving the entrepreneurial spirit of their district. Nearly all of the businesses are locally owned and operated.”
5. The Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine Has Said That Flags in the State Will Be Held at Half Mast as a Mark of Respect for the Dead
President Donald Trump said in an early-morning tweet on August 4, “God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.” In response to the shooting, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said that flags in the state would be held at half-mast as a mark of respect for the dead. The governor also said that he had been in contact with President Trump regarding the shooting.
The full statement from the governor read, “Fran and I are absolutely heartbroken over the horrible attack that occurred this morning in Dayton. We join those across Ohio and this country in offering our prayers to victims and their families. I have spoken with Mayor Nan Whaley and offered any assistance on behalf of the state. I have been briefed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol has offered assistance to local law enforcement as they investigate this heinous act. I commend Dayton Police and other first responders for their bravery and quick response to save lives and bring an end to this tragedy. I have ordered that flags in Ohio remain at half mast in honor and memory of the victims who lost their lives this morning.”
This post will be updated as more information is known about the Dayton shooting.