Dayton Gunman Knew His Sister Was in the Area

But authorities still don't know whether he planned to kill her
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2019 6:14 PM CDT
Dayton Gunman Knew His Sister Was in the Area
Mourners bring flowers to a makeshift memorial for the slain in the Oregon District after a mass shooting that occurred early Sunday morning, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, in Dayton.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The gunman in the Dayton, Ohio, shooting that left nine people dead in the wee hours of August 4 knew his sister—who was one of the first killed during his 32-second rampage—was in the area at the time. But, the city's police chief said Tuesday, investigators have "radically different views" on whether he actually targeted her. Text messages show the 24-year-old gunman knew his 22-year-old sister, Megan Betts, and a friend were headed to a taco stand in the area minutes before he came down the alley and started shooting. He had also spoken to her via phone. "There's a real question whether he could see who was on the other side" as he came down the alley, Chief Richard Biehl said, per the AP. "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."

Police on Tuesday gave a more detailed timeline of the rampage, explaining that the gunman, his sister, and the friend arrived in the downtown district at 11:04pm August 3 and went to a bar called Blind Bob's. The gunman separated from the other two and went to a second bar, Ned Peppers, at 12:14am, CNN reports. After half an hour, he returned to his vehicle to change clothes and get his weapon before walking down the alley and firing into Blind Bob's at 1:04am. Police say he knew the area well, and had been there just the night before. "This was a plan well before he got to the Oregon District (that night)," Biehl said. Police also clarified that 17 people were injured by gunfire in the attack, three more than a previous count. The friend who arrived with the gunman and Megan Betts was among the injured. Police are still working to determine a specific motive; currently, they only know the gunman was obsessed with the idea of committing a mass shooting. (More Dayton shooting stories.)

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