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Police divided on whether gunman in Ohio shooting intentionally killed his sister

Nine people were killed and a further 16 people were injured in a mass shooting on 4 August.

Connor Betts
Connor Betts
Image: Dayton Police Department via AP

INVESTIGATORS ARE SPLIT on whether shooter in the Ohio attack earlier this month intentionally killed his sister, who was one of the first nine he killed, the city’s police chief has said.

Nine people were killed and a further 16 people were injured in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio on 4 August.

The assailant, Connor Betts, was shot dead by police. It emerged in the hours that followed the shooting that Megan Betts, the 22-year-old sister of the gunman, was also shot dead during the attack. 

Text messages show Betts knew where his sister was when he began shooting, but what’s not known is whether he could see her standing under an umbrella at a taco stand, Chief Richard Biehl said at a news conference.

The evidence is so far inconclusive on whether the 24-year-old gunman targeted his sister two hours after they arrived with a friend at Dayton’s Oregon entertainment district.

“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 been trying to piece together a motive and other factors that led to the mass shooting.

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 armour and retrieved a gun from the boot.

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.

Ohio Shooting Authorities walking among evidence markers at the scene of the mass shooting on 4 August Source: John Minchillo via PA Images

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

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

Kollie will appear tomorrow in federal court. His lawyer said he has been cooperating with investigators.

“He was as shocked and surprised as everyone else that Mr Betts committed the massacre,” the lawyer said.

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.

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

Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine last week 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.

Two state lawmakers yesterday reintroduced legislation that would restrict access to guns. One bill would establish universal background checks. The second would raise the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21.

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Associated Press

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