Before opening fire on the bustling, nightlife hub in downtown Dayton, Ohio, 24-year-old Connor Betts lingered in an alleyway off the main drag for approximately nine minutes.
During that time, police believe that the shooter assembled his AR-15, loaded his weapon with bullets, tested it, and then ran around the corner shooting.
In the space of 30 seconds, he killed nine people — including his sister — and injured 17 with gunfire (four more than previously stated by police.)
Surveillance footage from the area captured in gruesome detail the shooter’s movements throughout the hours leading up to his Aug. 4 massacre.
Police Chief Richard Biehl said the shooter drove himself, his sister Megan, and his best friend Charles Beard, from their suburban home on Saturday night, and arrived at the downtown Oregon District at 11:04 p.m. Immediately upon arrival, all three went to the bar “Blind Bob's,” police said. At 12:13 a.m., surveillance footage shows the shooter leaving Blind Bob's, and walking across the street to Ned Peppers, another bar.
He stayed there for about 45 minutes. Surveillance showed him leaving the bar, and then walking back to the parking lot, where he spent the next eight minutes seemingly gathering items from the trunk of his car, just out of sight of the cameras.
Then, he’s seen walking back into view, wearing a hoodie and a black backpack, which law enforcement described as “weighed down.” He then made his way into the alleyway, around the corner from the bar Blind Bob's. Police said that he had been in communication with his sister for the past hour. They talked on the phone briefly, and then texted back and forth. During that exchange, she informed him that she was by the taco stand adjacent to Blind Bob's.
That was also where the shooting began, and his sister was one of the first three people he killed. He then ran down the street toward Ned Peppers, and continued to shoot.
Three police officers tore around the corner, guns drawn, and opened fire, killing Betts. The gunman was wearing body armor, but it wasn’t sufficient to withstand police gunfire. Video surveillance shows him crumple to the ground.
Chief Biehl said that investigators were divided on whether or not the shooter had intended to kill his sister. “We have radically different views in that regard,” Biehl said. “If we can’t agree on the interpretation of the evidence, then I would say it’s inconclusive.”
Police say that, based on the time frame, they had no reason to currently believe that there were co-conspirators in the shooting. “Were folks aiding and abetting? I’m not saying that this is the finality of that conversation, but during that day, that time frame, we don’t see anyone assisting in committing this horrendous crime,” said Biehl.
Biehl added that they had no reason to believe that the gunman’s sister or his friend knew what he was going to do, or that he was stashing weapons in the trunk of his car.
In response to a question about whether the shooter was casing Blind Bob's and Ned Peppers that night, police revealed that he’d been out and about in the Oregon District the previous night.
“He was very familiar with the Oregon District. It was not a place he didn’t know,” said Biehl. “This was planned well before.”
Investigators still haven’t settled on a motive, and there’s a possibility that they may never find one. Chief Biehl said his office has been focusing more on “mindset.”
“We have a lot of information about mindset. Historical data about mindset, and it’s progression,” said Biehl. “We know he had a history of obsession of violence, violent ideations, interest in mass shootings, expressed desire to carry out a mass shooting. That should be enough thematically to get a pretty clear sense of what’s going on here.”
Biehl said that the investigation is ongoing, and that the FBI is looking for information that would help them figure out his motive for the shooting.
Cover: Surveillance video provided by the Dayton Police