Vigil honours victims of Ohio mass shooting

Vigil made for victims of Dayton, Ohio mass shooting.

Hundreds of people gathered to honour the nine victims killed and 27 injured after a masked gunman opened fire on revellers enjoying the summer nightlife in Dayton, Ohio.

The crowds released doves, repeated the names of the dead and sang Amazing Grace, but directed an angrier chorus at Republican governor Mike DeWine, interrupting his speech at the vigil with chants of “make a change” and “do something!”.

Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat, said there would be time later for dealing with the policy issues.

She implored the crowd to honour the victims of the second US mass shooting in less than 24 hours, for which no motive has been explained.

The official who identified the gunman spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Connor Betts, 24, was armed with a .223-calibre rifle with magazines capable of holding at least 100 rounds of ammunition when he fired off dozens of shots in a popular entertainment district, Police Chief Richard Biehl said.

Betts was gunned down within 30 seconds of the start of his rampage, police said.

CCTV video they shared shows officers shot Betts at the doorstep of further destruction, just stopping him from entering a bar where some people took cover when the chaos broke out at around 1am on Sunday in the historic Oregon District.

Had he gone inside Ned Peppers Bar, the result would have been “catastrophic”, Mr Biehl said.

Bullet holes remained visible in the window there as people left flower bouquets in memorial in front of Ned Peppers and other bars. At one store, a few purple flowers were tucked into a bullet hole.

Betts’ 22-year-old sister Megan was the youngest of the victims.

Police identified the others as Monica Brickhouse, 39; Nicholas Cumer, 25; Derrick Fudge, 57; Thomas McNichols, 25; Lois Oglesby, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38; Logan Turner, 30; and Beatrice N Warren-Curtis, 36.

The gunman was white and six of the nine killed were black, police said.

Although they will investigate the possibility of a hate crime, they said the quickness of the rampage made any discrimination in the shooting seem unlikely.

Officials said 27 more people were treated for gunshots or other injuries suffered while fleeing, and at least 15 of those have been released. Several more were in serious or critical condition, hospital officials said.

Nikita Papillon, 23, was across the street at Newcom’s Tavern when the shooting started.

She said she saw a girl she had talked to earlier lying outside Ned Peppers, a bar she described as the kind of place “where you don’t have to worry about someone shooting up the place”.

“People my age, we don’t think something like this is going to happen,” she said. “And when it happens, words can’t describe it.”

President Donald Trump was briefed on the shooting and praised law enforcement’s speedy response in a tweet on Sunday. The FBI is assisting with the investigation as authorities put Betts’ life under the microscope in search of answers.

Two former high school classmates told The Associated Press that Betts repeatedly threatened other students and was suspended for compiling a “hit list” of those he wanted to kill and a “rape list” of girls he wanted to sexually assault.

Police have said there was nothing in his background to prevent him from buying the firearm he used.

Bellbrook Police Chief Doug Doherty said he and his officers were not aware of any history of violence by Betts, including during high school, and had no previous contact with him.

Another former classmate, Brad Howard, said he knew Betts for two decades and described him as “a nice kid”.

Betts also was a familiar face at Romer’s Bar & Grill in Bellbrook, where he was known as an ever-friendly, happy guy who sometimes came in for a beer or two and never made trouble.

Bartender Andy Baker said Betts was at the bar last Monday and seemed fine.

The Ohio shooting came hours after a man opened fire in a crowded El Paso, Texas, shopping area, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured.

Just days before, on July 28, a 19-year-old shot and killed three people, including two children, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California.

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