The 24-year-old Ohio man accused of opening fire on a Dayton entertainment district, killing nine including his sister, was once suspended from high school for creating a hit list and rape list of students he wanted to hurt.
Connor Betts was removed from the classroom after authorities discovered a notebook he'd kept with a list of people he wanted to rape and kill, then skin their bodies, according to Dayton 24/7 Now.
He also caused a school lockdown after a similar “hit list” was written on a bathroom wall of the Bellbrook High School, the Dayton Daily News reports.
Chris Baker, the former principal at the school, did not deny the allegations that the shooter had written the list on the bathroom wall or that he was later suspended for the act.
“I would not dispute that information, but I don’t want to get involved any more than just making that comment,” he said.
A former classmate also confirmed the existence of the list to the news organization.
“I know he made the list,” she said. “I’m not sure who the names were on there. ... He had a plan to shoot up the school.”
The unidentified classmate said she believed the gunman had been bullied at school and that he seemed “pretty normal” after he had gotten help after making the list.
One former classmate told Dayton 24/7 Now that after making the list, the gunman was later allowed to return to the school on the condition he write a letter of apology to those who were named on the list.
Demoy Howell told Dayton Daily News that he had multiple interactions with the gunman over the years, including time they spent together while the pair were both in the Junior ROTC.
“He was always a little bit of an oddball,” he said. “He had a dark sense of humor - jokes about people dying. He would wear all black. I remember sensing a dark energy around him.”
But, Howell believed the military program appeared to have a calming influence on the gunman, who he said didn’t ever have a lot of friends.
“Even though we all knew he was kind of weird, I felt like the colonels kind of kept him together,” he said. “There was a lockdown one year and it was because he wrote something in the bathroom. Then he kind of fell off the face of the earth. I don’t remember him walking (at graduation).”
Howell later also worked with the gunman at a fast food restaurant.
“Generally, there was no issue,” he said. “He kind of kept it together.”
Authorities said the gunman opened fire around 1:05 a.m. Sunday outside the Ned Peppers nightclub in Dayton’s Oregon District, according to WLWT. He was wearing body armor and carrying high-capacity magazines as he fired dozens of shots into the crowd.
Nine people were killed in the brief rampage, and at least 27 others were injured. The shooter’s sister, Megan Betts, 22, was among those who were killed.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said the gunman had arrived that night with his sister and her companion, but at some point, they separated. Megan Betts was later shot and killed; her companion was injured, but is expected to survive.
Other victims in the rampage have been identified as Lois Ogelsby, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38; Derrick Fudge, 57; Logan Turner, 30; Nicholas Cummer, 25; Thomas McNichols, 25; Beatrice Curtis, 36; and Monica Brickhouse, 39.
Biehl said that police shot and killed the gunman just 30 seconds after the shots began.
"I'm amazed at the quick response of Dayton police that literally saved hundreds of lives," said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
Those who knew the gunman said they were not surprised to learn he had been involved in the act of violence.
“I think this is less of a hate crime and more of an ‘I hate everybody’ crime,” Howell said. “I honestly feel more comfortable now knowing that he’s gone.”
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