The gunman who carried out a deadly mass shooting at a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio, planned his attack well in advance, police revealed.
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl provided a detailed report on what the gunman, 24-year-old Connor Betts, did the night of the shooting, based on footage from several security cameras in the area.
Biehl walked reporters through security footage that shows Betts arriving at Dayton’s Oregon District with his brother Jordan Cofer and a third companion. He later leaves his group and returns to the area with a weapon and opens fire. The videos show police officers’ quick response.
In the span of 32 seconds, Betts shot 26 people, killing at least nine, including Cofer, before police officers fatally shot him, according to Biehl.
The police chief also said Betts was very familiar with the area and appeared to have planned the shooting ahead of time.
“This was a plan well before he got to the Oregon District [the night of the shooting],” Biehl told reporters.
According to a detailed timeline corroborated by the footage, Betts arrived with his group and went to a bar known as Blind Bob’s at 11:04 p.m.
Nearly an hour later, Betts left Blind Bob’s alone and walked to Ned Peppers, another bar nearby, where he stayed for almost 30 minutes. At 12:44 a.m., he left Ned Peppers and went back to his car, where he changed into a black hooded sweatshirt and retrieved a backpack containing a weapon.
Police believe Betts stopped in an alley near Blind Bob’s to prepare his weapon. At 1:05 a.m., he ran onto the walkway next to Blind Bob’s and opened fire near a taco stand, where three people died.
Betts then ran across the street and continued shooting. Police shot and killed Betts in front of Ned Peppers half a minute after he first started shooting.
Biehl said there was a “strong possibility” that Betts first went into Ned Peppers to “case” the area before his attack.
Betts’ brother was killed and the third companion was injured during the shooting. According to Biehl, investigators have “radically different views” on whether Betts intentionally shot his brother.
However, according to text messages reviewed by police, Betts was in contact with his group when they were separated and he knew where they would be when he began shooting.
Biehl said investigators are still unclear on what Betts’ motive was but said he had an “obsession with violence and violent ideations ... interests in mass shootings and an expression of a desire to carry out a mass shooting.”
Speaking briefly at Tuesday’s press conference, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley commented on her fracas with President Donald Trump, whose visit to Dayton last week brought both supporters and protesters to a city still grieving.
On Tuesday, Whaley said the hospital, victims and first responders were “grateful” for Trump’s visit, but said that it was also “difficult on the community” because “everyone has strong feelings about the president, both positive and negative.”
“When we talk about bringing the community together, he’s not helpful there,” the mayor said.