Connor Stephen Betts, identified as Dayton suspected shooter, once kept 'hit list,' 'rape list,' classmates say

DAYTON, Ohio -- High school classmates of the gunman who killed nine people early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio, say he was suspended for compiling a "hit list" of those he wanted to kill and a "rape list" of girls he wanted to sexually assault.

INITIAL INVESTIGATION

Authorities identified 24-year-old Connor Stephen Betts of Bellbrook, Ohio, as the gunman in the weekend's second mass shooting.

Police say the active shooter situation began at 1 a.m. in the Oregon District, but officers nearby were able to neutralize Betts as he tried to enter a crowded bar less than 30 seconds after the shooting began. Nine people were killed, not including the shooter, who was fatally shot by responding officers.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the gunman was carrying a .223-caliber rifle, had additional high-capacity magazines with him and was wearing body armor. Police later said he was also wearing a mask and ear protection.

Investigators have not yet determined a motive for the shooting. Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said there is "no evidence to suggest there's a bias motive in this crime at this time."

Betts' sister Megan is among those who were killed, and authorities are trying to build a timeline to determine the shooter's movements before he opened fire.

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Dayton police release a 911 call from the mass shooting that left 9 people dead and more than two dozen others injured.



Police in Bellbrook confirmed Sunday morning that they were assisting Dayton police and the FBI to execute a search warrant at the home where the suspect lived with his family.

According to court records, Betts was arrested for a DUI in 2016. He plead guilty to a lesser charge, "physical control," which meant Betts was found in his vehicle with the key in the ignition, but not driving, the prosecuting attorney confirmed to ABC News. Betts was fined $515 and given probation but spent time in jail as a result of violating his probation.
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Nine people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said.



Bellbrook Police Chief Doug Doherty said he and his officers had no previous contact with Betts and weren't aware of any history of violence. Sugarcreek Township police said the only records they have on Betts are from a 2015 traffic citation. They noted without further explanation that Ohio law allows sealed juvenile court records to be expunged after five years or when the person involved turns 23.

Police said there was nothing that would have prevented him from buying a gun. Ohio law bars anyone convicted of a felony as an adult, or convicted of a juvenile charge that would have been a felony if they were 18 or older, from buying firearms.

REPORTS OF A 'HIT LIST'

Accounts by former classmates emerged after police said there was nothing in the background of 24-year-old Connor Betts that would have prevented him from purchasing the .223-caliber rifle with extended ammunition magazines that he used to open fire outside a crowded bar. Police on patrol in the entertainment district fatally shot him less than a minute later.

One former classmate who asked that only her first name, Hannah, be used, said she was Betts' classmate when, during the 2009 to 2010 schoolyear, he was caught with a list of girls he allegedly wanted to shoot. ABC News confirmed the story with her parents.

"I was on that list," Hannah recalled. "We were all called into the principal's office to ask if we knew why he'd want to hurt us."

He made earlier threats as well, she said.

"Women that he said he wanted to hurt," she said. "As a woman, especially a young woman, you're treated terribly. Like you're overreacting."

Two other former classmates told The Associated Press that Betts was suspended during their junior year at Bellbrook High School after a hit list was found scrawled in a school bathroom. That followed an earlier suspension after Betts came to school with a list of female students he wanted to sexually assault, according to the two classmates, a man and a woman who are both now 24 and spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern they might face harassment.

"There was a kill list and a rape list, and my name was on the rape list," said the female classmate.

A former cheerleader, the woman said she didn't really know Betts and was surprised when a police officer called her cellphone during her freshman year to tell her that her name was included on a list of potential targets.

"The officer said he wouldn't be at school for a while," she said. "But after some time passed he was back, walking the halls. They didn't give us any warning that he was returning to school."

"It's horrible that we got lucky, but because nobody did anything all these lives were ruined so horribly," Hannah said.

Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools officials declined to comment on those accounts, only confirming that Betts attended schools in the district.

The discovery of the hit list early in 2012 sparked a police investigation, and roughly one-third of Bellbrook students skipped school out of fear, according to an article in the Dayton Daily News.

It's not clear what became of that investigation. Chief Michael Brown in Sugarcreek Township, which has jurisdiction over the Bellbrook school, did not return calls Sunday about whether his agency investigated the hit list.

Though Betts, who was 17 at the time, was not named publicly by authorities at the time as the author of the list, the former classmates said it was common knowledge within the school he was the one suspended over the incident.

Drew Gainey was among those who went on social media Sunday to say red flags were raised about Betts' behavior years ago.

"There was an incident in high school with this shooter that should have prevented him from ever getting his hands on a weapon. This was a tragedy that was 100% avoidable," he wrote on in a Twitter post on Sunday.

Gainey did not respond to messages from AP seeking further comment, but the name on his account matches that of a former Bellbrook student who was on the track team with Betts.

Former Bellbrook Principal Chris Baker said he "would not dispute that information" when the Daily News asked him Sunday about the hit list suspension. He declined to comment further to the newspaper and the AP was unable to reach him.

MORE PERSONAL ACCOUNTS

Not everyone who went to school with Betts had bad things to say. Brad Howard told reporters in Bellbrook on Sunday that he was friends with Betts from preschool through their high school graduation.

"Connor Betts that I knew was a nice kid. The Connor Betts that I talked to, I always got along with well," Howard said.

Mike Kern, a customer at the gas station where Betts used to work in Bellbrook, said he hasn't seen Betts in about a year.

"He was the nicest kid you could imagine," always friendly, Kern said. "I never heard him talk about violence, say a racist word, or anything like that."

He said they sometimes played trivia at a bar near the gas station, and Betts often knew the answers on questions about current events and pop culture.

"He was real smart," Kern said. "He knew all the answers."

Two former classmates told The Associated Press that Betts was suspended during their junior year at Bellbrook High School after a hit list was found scrawled in a school bathroom. That followed an earlier suspension after Betts came to school with a list of female students he wanted to sexually assault, according to the two classmates, a man and a woman who are both now 24 and spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern they might face harassment.

Others remembered how he tried to intimidate classmates.

"It's baffling and horrible that somebody who's been talking for 10 years about wanting to shoot people could easily, so easily, get access to a military grade weapon and that much ammo," said Hannah Shows, a former high classmate who remembered seeing Betts look at people and imitate shooting at them.

"He was someone who enjoyed making people afraid," she said.

Former Bellbrook High School classmate Addison Brickler rode the bus with Betts and said he taunted her regularly.

"He was the bully," Brickler told the AP. "He used to make fun of me on the bus, talk about my weight, make me feel bad about myself. He would laugh and think it was funny, joke about it. We thought it was a normal thing."

But the seemingly normal heckling turned scary one day when she said two police officers pulled Betts off their bus during her first few weeks of high school. When she arrived home that day, her mom sat her and her brother down to tell her the school principal had called - they had been named on Betts' "hit list."

Betts disappeared from the halls of Bellbrook High School. Students were offered counseling, teachers checked on kids, and extra police officers were on hand. Brickler said Betts later returned to the school.

Others that had encounters with Betts, however, painted a different picture.

Brad Howard told reporters in Bellbrook on Sunday that he knew Betts from preschool through their high school graduation.

"Connor Betts that I knew was a nice kid. The Connor Betts that I talked to, I always got along with well," Howard said.

Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools wouldn't comment and refused to release information about Betts, citing legal protections for student records.

Jesse Kirsch and the ABC Owned Stations contributed to this report.
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