Home / US / Did the Dayton gunman target his sister? Police can't agree

Did the Dayton gunman target his sister? Police can't agree



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 22-year-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-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, Beihl said.

"There's a real question if he could see who was on the other side, "the police chief said, adding that his 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 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 do not 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 mass shooting, police chief said.

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Dayton, Ohio shooting: Families, locals and more mourn the victims

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Jamila McNichols, sister of slain mass shooting victim Thomas "TJ" McNichols, mourns beside a memorial near the scene of the mass shooting Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Family members of slain mass shooting victim Thomas "TJ" McNichols, from left, Donna Johnson, aunt, and sisters Jamila and Finesse McNichols, mourn beside a memorial near the scene of the shooting Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

A mourner prays his rosary beads beside a memorial outside Ned Peppers bar that was the scene of a mass shooting the previous day Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Finesse McNichols, sister of slain mass shooting victim Thomas "TJ" McNichols, mourns beside a memorial near the scene of the crime, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather outside Ned Peppers bar which was the scene of a mass shooting the previous day, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners pause for a prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners visit a makeshift memorial outside Ned Peppers bar following a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug . 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting during a vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners visit a makeshift memorial outside Ned Peppers bar following a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

A makeshift memorial is setup outside Ned Peppers bar following a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners comfort one another during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, left, speaks alongside Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, right, during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners sing as they participate in a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Balloons are released as mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners light candles as they participate in a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners light candles as they participate in a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly beaten by police, officials said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Doves are released over gathered mourners during a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners bow their heads in prayer as they gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather for a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Flowers are placed at the front of a business as mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

A tight bullet pattern remains in the window of a storefront as mourners gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

A mourner places flowers on the front of Ned Peppers bar as they gather at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners hugs the front of Ned Peppers bar while gathering at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil , Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners place flowers and candles on the front of Ned Peppers bar while gathering at the scene of a mass shooting before a prayer vigil, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

Mourners gather at a vigil following a nearby mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Multiple people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

DAYTON, OHIO – AUGUST 05: Annette Gibson-Strong cries after visiting a memorial to those killed in yesterday's mass shooting in the Oregon District on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was subsequently shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in El Paso, Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 22 people. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

DAYTON, OHIO – AUGUST 05: Annette Gibson-Strong visits a memorial to those killed in yesterday's mass shooting in the Oregon District on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was subsequently shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in El Paso, Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 22 people. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

DAYTON, OHIO – AUGUST 05: A memorial to those killed in yesterday's mass shooting sits along the sidewalk in the Oregon District on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was subsequently shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 22 people. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

DAYTON, OHIO – AUGUST 05: A memorial to yesterday's shooting victims sits in the Oregon District following on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 20 people. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

DAYTON, OHIO – AUGUST 05: A mourner prays at a makeshift memorial in the Oregon District following yesterday's mass shooting on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 20 people. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)

DAYTON, OHIO – AUGUST 05: Mourners pray at a makeshift memorial in the Oregon District following yesterday's mass shooting on August 05, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Nine people were killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle in the popular entertainment district. Betts was shot and killed by police. The shooting happened less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing 20 people. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)




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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 in 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 Pleased 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. shooting, though why he chose tha At all, he killed nine people and wounded at least 17 others in just over half a minute before officers 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 a friend, Ethan Kollie, bought armor and a 100-round 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 were not aware of any law that "would have necessarily prohibited "the magazine.

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

"He was as shocked and surprised as anyone 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 was not used in the shooting.

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

The weapon was purchased online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to another firearms dealer in the Dayton area, police said.

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.

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Sewell reported from Cincinnati, and Seewer reported from Toledo. Associated Press writers Kantele Franko and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus contributed.


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