Chaos of Dayton shooting echoes in 911 calls, radio traffic

AP National - World
Annette Gibson Strong

In this Aug. 4, 2019 photo Annette Gibson Strong places candles at a makeshift memorial for the slain and wounded at the scene of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Annette Gibson Strong started placing candles at a makeshift memorial the day of the shooting on Sunday. Strong says she’s continued to care for the memorial near Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton. It was outside the bar that Dayton police shot and killed the shooter as he approached the bar’s entrance. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Emergency calls and radio traffic from the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, last weekend have provided a window into a chaotic scene as strangers sought help for the wounded and emergency responders tried to sort out whether there was a second shooter.

A caller in a tavern reported a masked man outside, firing what “looked like a rifle” in a popular nightlife area. A nearby resident said she awoke to the sound of about 30 gunshots. Yet another caller pleaded for an ambulance at a different bar.

“Somebody just shot a bunch of people, and somebody is in here bleeding from their head,” she said.

With so many victims, police were told to take less serious cases to hospitals themselves.

Dayton police have said officers in the area fatally shot the lone gunman, 24-year-old Connor Betts, about 30 seconds into the rampage early last Sunday. They say he killed nine adults, including his sister. The motive remains unclear.

Eight of the victims who died were shot multiple times, the Montgomery County coroner’s office said Friday. Betts also died from several gunshots.

More than 30 others were left injured, including at least 14 with gunshot wounds, hospital officials and investigators said.

Officers reported finding victims in the street, in some of the nightclubs and behind one bar, according to the radio traffic. They were desperately calling for medics six minutes after the police said the shooter was down.

“We need every single medic in here now,” one officer said.

There were so many wounded that police were told: “If you find an injured person and you have a car available, get them to the hospital if they’re walking.”

Within 12 minutes, officers had found a witness with a partial video and began looking for shell casings and other evidence. Police called for a public transit bus to take witnesses downtown to talk with detectives.

About 18 minutes after the first call of shots fired, an officer said it was possible there was a second shooter still out there, but he added that was unconfirmed. It’s unclear how long it took investigators to confirm there was only one shooter.

Dayton police and the FBI are digging into Betts’ background to try to understand why he opened fire in Dayton’s Oregon District with an assault-style gun and dressed in body armor. They have said Betts was interested in “violent ideology” and fixated on mass shootings.

Officials at Bellbrook-Sugarcreek schools said Friday they wouldn’t release Betts’ records, explaining there wasn’t “sufficient basis” to violate student confidentiality by doing so. They also said some published statements about Betts aren’t entirely accurate.

Classmates have said Betts was suspended for compiling lists of students he wanted to rape or kill.

Numerous media organizations including The Associated Press have requested Betts’ student records from the district.

Adelia Johnson, who briefly dated Betts in the spring, said they bonded over their struggles with mental illness, so his dark thoughts didn’t seem so abnormal at the time. Now she wonders whether she should have broken his confidence to tell someone — and whether it would have mattered if she had.

The first funerals for the victims will be Saturday, with six remembrances scheduled at churches and funeral homes around the Dayton area, as well as in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Two services are scheduled for Monday.

No arrangements have yet been made public for the shooter’s sister, 22-year-old Megan Betts, who was the youngest of those killed.

It was the second U.S. mass shooting last weekend , prompting discussion about what might be done at the state and national level to stop such tragedies.

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Seewer reported from Toledo. Associated Press reporters Julie Carr Smyth and Andrew Welsh-Huggins in Columbus contributed.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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