A man who identified himself as a friend of the man who killed nine people in a mass shooting in downtown Dayton, Ohio, last Sunday claims that the shooter, Connor Betts, invited "a lot" more people out to the popular Oregon District that night.
Betts, 24, drove to the party strip with his younger sister, Megan Betts, and a man CNN identified as Charles Beard, at the start of the night, police said. After spending about an hour at Blind Bob's bar, Betts left the establishment about 45 minutes before Megan and Beard did early Sunday morning. Shortly after Megan and Beard left the bar, Betts opened fire on the street, hitting both Megan and Beard. Megan, 22, died of her injuries; Beard was wounded but survived. Along with Megan, eight others died and 27 were injured.
The man who claims to be a "best friend" of Betts' told the Daily Mail that Betts "had been inviting a lot of his friends out to the bar" the night of the shooting.
"Did he mean to hurt more people that night? I don't know. The question haunts me," the unnamed friend reportedly said.
"It's something I keep turning over in my mind. I was one phone call away from being there that night — in the car, in the bar," he said.
"I would never have thought him capable of doing what he did. I question now if he had some sort of break or if there was a version of Connor that I just never knew that was always there," he continued.
"We hung out together at his home, we played video games, watched TV, debated politics… we did that almost every day at high school and I saw him all the time though our lives took us in different directions after."
The friend also said that he could offer no reason for why Betts opened fire that night. He said that he knew Betts as "charming, intelligent and fun."
"I never saw that side to him. Really. But now I look back and question everything," the friend said. Although he said he had seen "no sign" of the violence that was to come, he did admit it was "unusual" for Betts to go out with Megan.
"They got on really well. I'd say they had an incredibly good relationship for a brother and sister. They would joke together and make each other laugh," the friend said. "But it was usual for them to be out together. Megan would hang out with Connor and Chace [Beard] at home but it struck me as odd that they were out together."
An employee of Blind Bob's told CNN that Betts has frequented the bar before, using his credit card for small tabs. Employees said they saw Betts at the bar earlier the night of the shooting, as well as on Friday night. According to credit card records obtained by CNN, the last charge on Betts' credit card is from June 24.
Dayton police said, "Through our investigation, we are aware the suspect did frequent bars in the Oregon District on a regular basis."
Authorities do not yet know Betts' motive, Dayton's police chief Richard Biehl told reporters on Tuesday. It's unknown whether any of the Dayton victims were targeted. Besides Megan, the others who died were identified 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.
Photo credit: MEGAN JELINGER / Contributor / Getty