Warning: Distressing Content
Footage has emerged of the moment police in Dayton, Ohio, fatally shot Connor Betts moments after he had killed nine people, including his own sister.
Surveillance footage, from the Oregon District in Dayton where the shooting took place, shows members of the public running for their lives and taking shelter in a nearby bar before Betts, 24, comes into view.
The 24-year-old was reportedly wearing a mask, bulletproof vest and hearing protection at the time.
WARNING: The following content contains violence. Do not watch if you are sensitive to the subject matter.
According to Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, officers who were patrolling the area at around 1 am, just as the bars were closing, heard gunfire and saw a large crowd of people running away.
The police chief said, as per CNN:
The officers immediately advanced toward the gunfire and within approximately 20 seconds, they engaged the suspect, who was actively firing and attempting to enter a crowded liquor establishment.
The threat was neutralized at approximately 30 seconds of the suspect firing his first shot.
In that short time, Betts killed nine people and injured dozens of others. His motive currently remains unclear.
At a press conference yesterday, August 4, Governor Mike DeWine said, via NY Post:
We will never know how many lives were saved. The assailant was obviously very, very close to being able to kill dozens and dozens more people.
According to reports, Betts was wielding a AR-15-style rifle, which he had purchased legally online.
Police Chief Biehl said:
There’s nothing in this individual’s history or record that would have precluded him from purchasing that firearm.
A search of the vehicle in which he travelled to the area also revealed a shotgun reportedly belonging to Betts.
Reporter: Your thoughts on your citizens owning such high-capacity magazines?
Dayton Police Chief Biehl: "It's problematic. It is fundamentally problematic. They have that level of weaponry in a civilian environment — unregulated — is problematic." pic.twitter.com/2c6YvaWS3V
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 5, 2019
The 24-year-old had apparently arrived in the area in the same vehicle as his sister and a male companion, though they separated ‘at some point in the evening,’ according to police. Authorities are trying to determine the shooter’s movements throughout the evening, such as his whereabouts after he and his sister were separated.
Betts’ sister was killed in the attack. The male companion who had travelled with them was reportedly wounded – authorities do not believe he had advance knowledge of the shooting.
— Dan Griffin WLWT (@DanGriffinWLWT) August 4, 2019
After a search of Betts’ house, authorities reportedly found ‘writings’ which suggested he had an ‘interest’ in killing people. The writings did not indicate any reasons however, such as racial or political motivations for the shooting.
As Police Chief Biehl added:
We do not have sufficient information to answer the question everyone wants to know: ‘Why?’
While adding there was ‘no evidence [which] suggests that there is a bias motive in this crime at this time’.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.