Skip to content

New Here?

People Spotted Red Flags In Dayton Shooter’s Behavior, Reports Suggest

August 7, 2019

In the aftermath of Sunday morning’s mass shooting in Dayton, reports are emerging that the shooter’s behavior raised concerns among people who knew him.

This reporting underscores the case for Extreme Risk or Red Flag legislation, which Gov. Mike DeWine called for Monday and is also receiving bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate, including from Sen. Rob Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown. These laws empower law enforcement officers or family members who recognize warning signs to intervene in order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms.

Reporting on the Dayton shooter, CNN has reported that former classmates have said he “had a ‘hit list’ of people he wanted to kill or rape.” CNN also reported that:

Another person…said Betts often simulated shooting other students and threatened to kill himself and others on several occasions. “He loved to look at you and pretend to shoot with guns, guns with his hands,” she said.

An ex-girlfriend, meanwhile, told the Washington Post that during their relationship, she “became increasingly concerned that Betts was far from normal and desperately in need of professional help.” The shooter’s prior behavior had also concerned friends of his ex-girlfriend, the Post reported:

As she got to know him, her friends grew wary and warned her of Betts’s tumultuous past relationships. They told her he had pushed one ex-girlfriend into a roaring river and had screamed at another while pinning her against a wall.

The Dayton Daily News, meanwhile, has reported the shooter once held a gun near the head of a former friend, and the Cincinnati Enquirer reports he once choked a girl he dated.

For more information about Extreme Risk legislation, or to request an interview, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]