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Society

Coroner: The Gunman in Dayton Had Drugs in System During Firefight

August 16, 2019

CINCINNATI — The gunman in Dayton who killed nine people had cocaine, an antidepressant and alcohol in his system during the mass shooting, and was cut down by a barrage of at least two dozen police bullets that penetrated gaps in his body armor, a coroner said Thursday.

Montgomery County coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger said authorities found a pipe device and a baggie of cocaine on 24-year-old Connor Betts. Harshbarger also reported in his preliminary autopsy findings that Betts had more than 50 entry and exit wounds.

“This incident involved an intense firefight that is rarely seen other than combat and an active-shooter incident,” Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said. “The officers were confronted with a moving shooter wearing body armor, actively executing victims with an AR-15-type weapon and high-capacity magazines.”

The coroner said police gunfire hit two people. One of them died, but Harshbarger said the gunman, not police, fired the lethal round.

Police investigators will review the medical records of the 17 who were wounded to determine if any of them were struck by the officers’ bullets, Biehl said.

Police haven’t yet determined a motive for the shooting.

Meanwhile, Betts’ parents have apologized for the wording in his death notice that didn’t mention the mass shooting whose victims included his younger sister.

Stephen and Moira Betts issued a statement that said the notice for Connor Betts was “insensitive in not acknowledging the terrible tragedy that he created.”

They said they wanted to reflect the son they knew and weren’t trying to “minimize horror of his last act.”

The notice described Betts as a “funny, articulate and intelligent man with striking blue eyes and a kind smile” before it was taken down Wednesday by a funeral home in their hometown of Bellbrook, Ohio.

Betts opened fire in a popular entertainment district in Dayton. Police shot him as he neared a crowded bar.

It’s not known whether Betts targeted his 22-year-old sister, Megan. They had spent an hour together at a bar in the same area before the shooting.

The family will be holding private memorial services for both of their children.

Ethan Kollie, a longtime friend of Betts who told investigators he bought the body armor, a 100-round magazine and a key part of the gun Betts used in the attack will remain in jail after a judge ordered Thursday that he be held without bond until his trial.

Authorities have said there’s no indication Kollie knew Betts was planning the mass shooting, but they charged him with lying on a federal firearms form while buying a pistol not used in the shooting.

His attorneys wanted him released on house arrest with electronic monitoring and other conditions, telling the judge Kollie had no history of violence and no role in the shooting. Prosecutors opposed his request to stay with a family friend.

___

By JOHN SEEWER and DAN SEWELL Associated Press

Seewer reported from Toledo.

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