Nine people were killed and at least 27 were injured after a gunman wearing body armor and armed with a rifle and high-capacity magazines opened fire on a line of people waiting to get inside a bar in a popular nightlife area of Dayton, Ohio.
The suspected gunman was identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts.
Police say Betts’ 22-year-old sister Megan was the youngest of the deceased victims, who were all killed in the same area. Authorities are now working to see how this fits in with the shooting at the bar.
The other identified victims are Lois L. Oglesby, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38; Derrick R. Fudge, 57; Logan M. Turner, 30; Nicholas P. Cumer, 25; Thomas J. McNichols, 25; Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, 36; and Monica E. Brickhouse, 39.
Surveillance video released by police shows that officers shot Betts, stopping him from entering a bar.
At a late-afternoon press conference, Dayton Police Chief Richard S. Biehl revealed the gunman’s sister was not the first victim, but was one of the initial victims. Biehl said parents of both the alleged shooter and his deceased sister had been interviewed. Biehl said the suspect was with his sister prior to shooting and that they came to Oregon District in the same vehicle and later separated.
Biehl says he can’t yet answer why Betts began shooting early Sunday in Dayton’s Oregon District and that the .223-caliber rifle Betts used was ordered online from Texas and transferred to Betts at a firearms dealer in the area.
Local hospital representatives say the injuries included gunshot wounds and lacerations. They say at least 15 of the wounded have been released, and several people remain in serious or critical condition.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says many more people might have been hurt if police patrolling the area hadn’t been able to respond in less than a minute to the shooting. Whaley says a community vigil is planned Sunday evening.
Dayton’s shooting comes just hours after a 21-year-old killed 20 people and injured 26 more at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. In all, 29 people were killed and 53 injured in the two shootings.
In Dayton, a survivor described “bodies falling in the line” to get into the bar. The suspected gunman has been killed as well, according to police.
The shooter opened fire outside Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton’s Oregon District around 1 a.m local time, officials and witnesses said. Police patrolling the area shot the suspect within a minute, police said in a press conference later Sunday morning.
“If Dayton police had not gotten to the shooter in under a minute – and think about that, nine killed and 26 injured in under a minute – hundreds of people in the Oregon District would have been killed,” Whaley said.
The gunman was shot by several officers, police said. They have not released the shooter’s identity or information about a possible motive.
“Clearly, the question has to be, why does Dayton have to be the 250th shooting in America?” Whaley said. “Two hundred and fifty this year. El Paso was 249, Dayton was 250.”
Eye witnesses of the attack also described the speed with which the shooting occurred.
“I turn around and you can just see bodies falling in the line,” Anthony Reynolds told NBC News. “You hear about it, you see it on TV, but like they say, when it hits home, it hits different.”
Reynolds said he was leaving the bar when the shooting happened, and described the shooter as a heavy-set white man. He said he knew one of the people killed.
Police also said the FBI is assisting with the investigation and a family assistance center will be set up at the Dayton Convention Center.
Witness Taylor Mayberry said she and a friend heard gunshots erupt inside Ned Peppers Bar. She told NBC she dove to the ground and started running to the bathroom, where others were already hiding. She said she didn’t see the shooter because the bar was crowded.
Mayberry said she got separated from her friend — a nurse — who later called her from a neighboring bar after running out Ned Peppers’ back door and helping the victims.
“She says she ran around the block to the front of the bar and said she was one of the first people on the site to do compressions, so she said she did compressions on five people, probably, and wasn’t able to save any of them,” Mayberry said. “She says people were gasping for air and she was covered in blood; she lost her phone and just trying to save these people’s lives.”
Reynolds described the Oregon historic district as full of bars and restaurants, live bands and young people on a Saturday night. He also referred to the El Paso shooting.
“Two of them in one day, it’s starting to get scary with these mass shootings,” Reynolds said.
Ned Peppers posted Sunday on its Facebook page that it’s “confused” why this shooting occurred in their “safe entertainment district.”
Authorities say the shooter opened fire in the popular nightlife area called the Oregon District where Ned Peppers is located.
The post said that police regularly staffed there “engaged the shooter and neutralized the threat.”
Ned Peppers said the bar is assisting police in any way they can. The bar remains closed.
The bar also posted that a bouncer was being treated for shrapnel wounds.
President Trump tweeted about both mass shootings Sunday morning. “The FBI, local and state law enforcement are working together in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio,” he tweeted. “Information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton. Much has already be learned in El Paso. Law enforcement was very rapid in both instances. Updates will be given throughout the day!”
Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said “thoughts and prayers are not enough” after the Dayton shooting.
In a statement Sunday, Brown said he is angry that state and national lawmakers won’t pass more gun safety laws.
Several proposals have been introduced in the GOP-led Legislature this session that would tighten requirements on firearms sales, transfers and storage. A gun safety group is also pushing to change state law to require background checks on nearly all guns sales.