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August 23, 2019

Dayton police release dramatic images, details of 32-second mass shooting

August 14, 2019

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl speaks at a news conference on Tuesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

As investigators work to determine whether the Dayton gunman knowingly targeted his own sister, police on Tuesday released new surveillance footage and a detailed timeline of the Aug. 4 massacre, which lasted about 32 seconds.

In a news conference Tuesday afternoon, authorities revealed a series of images showing people running in panic and others sitting in a patio and ducking for cover as Connor Betts opened fire at a crowded nightlife neighborhood known as Oregon district.

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The 24-year-old killed nine people, including his sister, before police fatally shot him right outside a bar about 1 a.m. that Sunday. Police on Tuesday revised the number of nonfatal gunshot victims from 14 to 17.

The timeline, which investigators spent the past 10 days piecing together, shows the shooter arriving in the district with his sister and a friend at 11:04 p.m. and going into a bar called Blind Bob’s. The shooter left the pair at 12:13 a.m. and went into bar called Ned Peppers by himself, according to the footage.

Police said he stayed there for about half an hour before leaving the bar, walking right past a police cruiser and heading back to the car, where he apparently changed clothes and picked up a backpack with the weapon.

Betts used a modified semiautomatic pistol that worked as a rifle and had an attached drum magazine that could hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition. Authorities said he bought the weapon legally from an online dealer.

The police timeline shows the gunman heading to a crowded area where he immediately killed three people next to a taco stand before firing at multiple directions.

Police Chief Richard Biehl said investigators have not agreed on whether Betts’ sister was an intended target or whether he realized he shot her, but the chief said the shooter did know where she was because they had been texting minutes before the carnage.

“Based on the evidence from that night, I don’t think we can make that call” if he targeted her, Biehl told reporters during the news conference.

A motive has not been determined, but investigators said the shooter had an interest in violent ideology and expressed a desire to commit a mass shooting. A now-deleted Twitter account that reportedly belonged to him frequently shared left-leaning and anti-police posts, investigators have said.

The newly released footage shows officers engaged with the shooter in under 20 seconds. He was hit on a sidewalk while running from cops and wearing what police described as “vulnerable” body armor.

Police said it’s not clear how familiar the shooter was with the area, but they said he had been to the district the night before.

The massacre was the second of two mass shootings that weekend. About 13 hours earlier, a gunman opened fire at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people in what authorities have described as a terrorist attack.

Biehl had to hold back tears as he described how helpful the Dayton community has been during the investigation. He also thanked his officers for such an impressive and quick response.

“Their response was crucial,” Biehl said. “Their response was immediate. Their response was effective. Their response was compassionate.”

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Mass shooting kills 9 at popular Ohio nightlife district

Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein credited the “heroic” work of 14 local and federal agencies who responded to the shooting the night of Aug. 4.

Police said the FBI will review all the surveillance and social media footage as part of its investigation.

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