North America

Dayton gunman threatened fellow students

Connor Betts, the 24-year-old gunman who killed nine people, including his younger sister, in Dayton, Ohio, had a long and troubled history, authoriities say.

The 24-year-old gunman who killed nine people in a rampage in Dayton, Ohio, allegedly had a troubled past, including threatening fellow students in high school, but police say it is too soon to establish a motive for the slaughter.

The gunman, wielding an assault-style rifle and wearing body armour and a mask, inflicted carnage early on Sunday on a neighbourhood known for its night life.

Police identified the shooter as Connor Betts, 24, of Bellbrook, Ohio, a Dayton suburb. He was the third young man to take a rifle and go on a public killing spree in the US within a span of a week, renewing alarm at the national crisis of mass shootings.

The killings in Dayton began at around 1am on Sunday in the Oregon District and ended rapidly when police who were nearby moved in and shot Betts dead.

Betts' younger sister was among those killed. At least 14 people were wounded by bullets while others were injured as they fled. Six of the nine people killed were black.

The gunman shot at least 41 bullets in the seconds before he was killed, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters on Monday. Police officers ended the rampage in about 30 seconds, Biehl said previously.

Investigators were still trying to pin down a motive, Biehl said. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were helping police.

"We have a lot of evidence still to go through," Biehl said. "Just based on where we're at now, we are not seeing any indication of race being a motive."

Betts had been troubled in high school, at one point drawing up a "hit list" of students he wanted to kill or otherwise harm, authorities said.

He also had a history of threatening women who spurned his advances, CNN reported. News media reported that at one point in high school he was taken off a school bus by police.

Apart from his high school troubles, Betts had been issued tickets for speeding and other minor traffic offences, police said.

He had been studying psychology at a community college and working at a fast food restaurant. In an online profile, Betts reportedly described himself as "Good under pressure. Fast learner. Eager to overachieve."

Nothing in Betts' record precluded him from purchasing the assault-style weapon, which had been modified since it was sold, the police chief said.

The rifle was fitted with an extended drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds. The gun was bought legally online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to a local firearms dealer, police said.

Betts' sister Megan Betts, 22, was one of the first to be killed. Biehl said the siblings had arrived in the same vehicle with a third person earlier in the evening but separated before the rampage.

The companion was wounded in the shooting, police said.

US President Donald Trump on Monday called Betts a "twisted monster". He said law enforcement must do more to spot the "early warning signs" of would-be mass murderers.

Those killed in Dayton, four women and five men, ranged in age from 22 to 57, authorities said.

"There isn't much discrimination in the shooting," Assistant Police Chief Matt Carper told reporters. "It happened in a very short period of time."

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch