Po­lice un­sure if Day­ton gun­man tar­geted sis­ter

The Olympian - - Front Page - BY DAN SEWELL AND JOHN SEEWER

TEXT MES­SAGES SHOW THE 24-YEAR-OLD GUN­MAN KNEW HIS SIS­TER AND THEIR FRIEND WERE GO­ING TO A TACO STAND MIN­UTES BE­FORE HE CAME DOWN AN AL­LEY AND STARTED SHOOT­ING

One of the first vic­tims struck by the Day­ton shooter dur­ing his 32-sec­ond ram­page that left nine peo­ple dead was his younger sis­ter, but whether he in­ten­tion­ally killed her re­mains un­known more than a week later, the Ohio city’s po­lice chief said Tues­day.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors have “rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent views” on whether Con­nor Betts tar­geted his 22year-old sis­ter, Me­gan, two hours af­ter they ar­rived with a friend at a pop­u­lar strip of night­clubs, Chief Richard Biehl said at a news con­fer­ence.

Text mes­sages show the 24-yearold gun­man knew his sis­ter and their friend were go­ing to a taco stand min­utes be­fore he came down an al­ley and started shoot­ing, Beihl said.

“There’s a real ques­tion whether he could see who was on the other side,” the po­lice chief said, adding that its pos­si­ble in­ves­ti­ga­tors may never come up with an an­swer.

“If we can’t seem to make that call con­clu­sively – that we’re di­vided about how, whether that was in­ten­tional or not – I think it’s in­con­clu­sive,” Biehl said.

Au­thor­i­ties have interviewe­d wit­nesses, stud­ied video and re­viewed Betts’ phone while try­ing to come up with a mo­tive and other fac­tors that led to the mass shoot­ing Aug 4. So far, there is no ev­i­dence he had any help the night of the shoot­ing, Biehl said.

While they don’t know why Betts chose his lo­ca­tion or what his mo­tive was, in­ves­ti­ga­tors do know a lot about his mind­set, in­clud­ing his ob­ses­sion with and de­sire to com­mit a mass shoot­ing, the po­lice chief said.

A video of pieced-to­gether sur­veil­lance from busi­nesses showed Betts be­fore the shoot­ing with his sis­ter and their friend, and again af­ter he went to his car and changed into a black hoodie, put on body ar­mor and re­trieved an as­sault-style gun from the trunk.

The three had ar­rived to­gether at the en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict and spent about an hour in­side a bar be­fore Betts left and went to an­other night­club by him­self, po­lice said.

He then walked back to his car and spent about eight min­utes chang­ing and get­ting out his weapon, Biehl said.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors think the friend who ar­rived with Betts didn’t know what he had planned or that he had weapons stashed in the trunk, Beihl said.

Betts was very fa­mil­iar with the area and its night spots and had been there the night be­fore, the po­lice chief said. It’s clear he had a plan for the mass shoot­ing, al­though why he chose that place at that time is still be­ing in­ves­ti­gated, the po­lice chief said.

In all, he killed nine peo­ple and wounded at least 17 oth­ers in just over half a minute be­fore of­fi­cers who were pa­trolling the area fa­tally shot Betts, po­lice

said. Pre­vi­ously, po­lice and hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials said at least 14 peo­ple suf­fered gun­shots.

The coroner’s re­port will de­ter­mine whether any­one be­sides the shooter was hit by po­lice, Biehl said.

Au­thor­i­ties said that a friend, Ethan Kol­lie, bought ar­mor and a 100round mag­a­zine for Betts, au­thor­i­ties said. But there was no ev­i­dence he knew what Betts planned, they said.

The gov­er­nor’s of­fice said Wed­nes­day that its at­tor­neys weren’t aware of any law that “would have nec­es­sar­ily pro­hib­ited” the mag­a­zine.

Kol­lie will ap­pear Wed­nes­day in fed­eral court. His at­tor­ney said he has been co­op­er­at­ing with in­ves­ti­ga­tors.

“He was as shocked and sur­prised as ev­ery­one else that Mr. Betts com­mit­ted the mas­sacre,” at­tor­ney Nick Gounaris said Mon­day.

Prose­cu­tors ac­cused Kol­lie of ly­ing about not us­ing mar­i­juana on fed­eral firearms forms in the pur­chase of a pis­tol that wasn’t used in the shoot­ing.

Po­lice have said there was noth­ing in Betts’ back­ground to pre­vent him from buy­ing the gun.

Ohio Repub­li­can Gov. Mike DeWine has pro­posed a pack­age of gun con­trol mea­sures, in­clud­ing re­quir­ing back­ground checks for nearly all gun sales in Ohio and al­low­ing courts to re­strict firearms ac­cess for peo­ple per­ceived as threats.

AP

This Day­ton Po­lice Depart­ment photo shows the firearm used by Con­nor Betts Aug. 4 in Day­ton, Ohio. The weapon was pur­chased on­line from a dealer in Texas and shipped to an­other firearms dealer in the Day­ton area, po­lice say.

Con­nor Betts

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