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The Justice Department has filed federal charges against one of the Dayton shooter’s friends, who allegedly lied about his drug use when he purchased a pistol earlier this year.
At a press conference Monday, federal authorities said that 24-year-old Ethan Kollie had also purchased body armor, an AR-15 accessory, and a 100-round double drum magazine on behalf of the Dayton shooter. Months later, the gunman would use those items during his deadly rampage outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine dead and more than two dozen injured.
Kollie stored the armor and AR-15 accessories at his residence, because the gunman, who lived with his parents, was worried they would find them, according to Special Agent in Charge Todd Wickerham. The gunman also apparently had help from another friend, Charles Beard, who drove him to the bar in a popular nightlife area where he’d begin his rampage.
But so far, law enforcement has not found any evidence to suggest that Kollie, nor Beard, were privy to the gunman’s plans to carry out an attack.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said that the FBI first interviewed Kollie at his residence last Sunday, the same day as the shooting. Glassman said that the interviewer “smelled marijuana” and observed “what appeared to be a bong,” as well as a Micro Draco pistol.
Later that week, FBI agents reinterviewed Kollie, this time at his place of work. During that interview, Kollie told agents that he’d done “hard drugs” with the Dayton gunman, as well as marijuana and acid — during one period around 2014 to 2015, as often as four to five times a week.
Kollie also told agents that he smoked marijuana every day, and had been doing so for about 10 years. He also admitted that he remembered lying on the federal ATF form, dated May 9, 2019, about his drug use, in order to obtain the firearm. Lying on Form 4473 is considered a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Glassman dismissed questions from reporters that suggested his office was only going after Kollie because they had lingering suspicions of his complicity in the attack. Instead, Glassman said that his agency “vigorously prosecutes” anyone who lies on federal ATF forms.
The FBI also gained access to the gunman’s primary cellphone, which he was carrying at the time of the shooting. “We are still processing and going through that,” Wickerham said.
The 24-year-old Dayton shooter was killed just 30 seconds after he started firing by responding police. Federal authorities are yet to identify a motive for the massacre and said Monday that they were still sifting through evidence in the case.
Former classmates and friends have described the shooter as someone obsessed with violence. He was also briefly expelled from high school for keeping a “rape list” and “kill list” of his peers.
Cover image: This undated file booking photo provided by the Montgomery County Sheriff shows Ethan Kollie.(Montgomery County Sheriff via AP)