Police divided on whether Dayton gunman targeted sister

  • FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Dayton Police Department shows Connor Betts, the 24-year-old masked gunman in body armor who killed several people, including his sister, before he was slain by police. The FBI has labeled two of those attacks , at a Texas Walmart and California food festival, as domestic terrorism - acts meant to intimidate or coerce a civilian population and affect government policy. But the bureau hasn't gone that far with a shooting at an Ohio entertainment district. (Dayton Police Department via AP, File)

    FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Dayton Police Department shows Connor Betts, the 24-year-old masked gunman in body armor who killed several people, including his sister, before he was slain by police. The FBI has labeled two of those attacks , at a Texas Walmart and California food festival, as domestic terrorism - acts meant to intimidate or coerce a civilian population and affect government policy. But the bureau hasn't gone that far with a shooting at an Ohio entertainment district. (Dayton Police Department via AP, File) Associated Press

  • A pedestrian passes a makeshift memorial for the slain and injured victims of a mass shooting that occurred in the Oregon District early Sunday morning, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.  Twenty-four-year-old Connor Betts opened fire in Dayton early Sunday, killing several people including his sister, before officers fatally shot him.

    A pedestrian passes a makeshift memorial for the slain and injured victims of a mass shooting that occurred in the Oregon District early Sunday morning, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Twenty-four-year-old Connor Betts opened fire in Dayton early Sunday, killing several people including his sister, before officers fatally shot him. Associated Press

  • This August 2019 photo provided by the Dayton Police Department shows the firearm used by Connor Betts in a mass shooting in a popular entertainment district on Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (Dayton Police Department via AP)

    This August 2019 photo provided by the Dayton Police Department shows the firearm used by Connor Betts in a mass shooting in a popular entertainment district on Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (Dayton Police Department via AP) Associated Press

  • File-This undated file photo provided by the Dayton Police Department shows Connor Betts. The Justice Department says a friend of Betts is being charged with lying on federal firearms forms. Authorities say more information about the charges being unsealed will be announced Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. The charges come a little over a week after the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. The 24-year-old Betts opened fire in a popular entertainment district, killing his sister and eight others. (Dayton Police Department via AP, File)

    File-This undated file photo provided by the Dayton Police Department shows Connor Betts. The Justice Department says a friend of Betts is being charged with lying on federal firearms forms. Authorities say more information about the charges being unsealed will be announced Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. The charges come a little over a week after the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. The 24-year-old Betts opened fire in a popular entertainment district, killing his sister and eight others. (Dayton Police Department via AP, File) Associated Press

 
 
Updated 8/13/2019 3:28 PM

CINCINNATI -- Investigators are split on whether the Dayton shooter intentionally killed his sister, who was one of the first nine he killed, the city's police chief said Tuesday.

Text messages show Connor Betts knew where his sister was when he began shooting, but what's not known is whether he could see her standing under an umbrella at a taco stand, Chief Richard Biehl said at a news conference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The evidence is so far inconclusive on whether the 24-year-old gunman targeted his 22-year-old sister, Megan, two hours after they arrived with a friend at Dayton's Oregon entertainment district.

"If we can't seem to make that call conclusively - that we're divided about how, whether that was intentional or not - I think it's inconclusive," Biehl said.

Authorities have been trying to piece together a motive and other factors that led to the mass shooting Aug 4.

A video of pieced-together surveillance from businesses showed Betts before the shooting with his sister and their friend, and again after he went to his car and changed into a black hoodie, put on body armor and retrieved a gun from the trunk.

Betts was very familiar with the area and its night spots and had been there the night before, the police chief said. It's clear he had a plan for the mass shooting, although why he chose that place at that time is still being investigated, the police chief said.

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Betts killed nine people and wounded at least 17 others before they killed him, police said. Previously, police and hospital officials said at least 14 people suffered gunshots.

The coroner's report will determine whether anyone besides the shooter was hit by police, Biehl said.

Authorities said Tuesday that a friend, Ethan Kollie, bought armor and a 100-round magazine for Betts, authorities said. But there was no evidence he knew what Betts planned, they said.

Kollie will appear Wednesday in federal court. His attorney said he has been cooperating with investigators.

"He was as shocked and surprised as everyone else that Mr. Betts committed the massacre," attorney Nick Gounaris said Monday.

Prosecutors accused Kollie of lying about not using marijuana on federal firearms forms in the purchase of a pistol that wasn't used in the shooting.

Police have said there was nothing in Betts' background to prevent him from buying the gun.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The weapon was purchased online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to another firearms dealer in the Dayton area, police said.

Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine last week proposed a package of gun-control measures , including requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales in Ohio and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats.

Two state lawmakers Monday reintroduced legislation that would restrict access to guns. One bill would establish universal background checks. The second would raise the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21.

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Seewer reported from Toledo.

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