Despite two mass shootings taking place within hours of each other in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, the FBI said Tuesday that there is no apparent connection between the two. Upon opening an investigation into the man who killed nine people in Dayton, federal authorities say they've found "very specific violent ideologies" that Connor Betts explored before his Sunday morning rampage.
Dayton Daily News reports that the investigation will focus on ideologies that might have influenced 24-year-old Betts to carry out the attack, whether anyone helped him or had advanced knowledge of his intentions, and ultimately why he committed the shooting.
"We are initiating an FBI investigation side-by-side with the police homicide investigation to make sure we get to the bottom … and we try to understand the best we can why this horrific attack happened," FBI Special Agent Todd Wickerham said, adding that Betts was "very specifically seeking out information that promotes violence."
Wickerham said that investigators would look at allegations that Betts created a "hit list" of classmates in high school. "We are going back as far as we need to to try to find out why he did this and also if anybody else knew about this or was involved with this," he said. "This community and our country deserves an answer as to why this happened."
It's unknown whether any of the Dayton victims were targeted. Besides Betts' sister Megan, 22, the others who died were 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.
In El Paso, the Justice Department is "seriously considering" bringing federal hate crime and federal firearm charges, which carry a possible death penalty, against the gunman who shot and killed at least 22 people in a Walmart on Saturday, CNN reports. The suspect, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, has also been charged with capital murder.
Police say a racist, anti-immigrant document they believe was written by the suspect has a "nexus to a potential hate crime." The four-page document was posted online and espouses white nationalist and racist views.
Among the 22 dead in El Paso are 13 Americans, eight Mexicans and one German, as old as 90 and as young as 15: Jordan Anchondo, 24; Andre Anchondo, 23; Arturo Benavides, 60; Leonard Cipeda Campos, 41; Maribel Hernandez, 56; Raul Flores, 77; Maria Flores, 77; Jorge Calvillo García, 61; Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, 68; Sara Esther Regalado, 66; Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66; David Alvah Johnson, 63; Luis Alfonzo Juarez, 90; María Eugenia Legarreta Rothe, 58; Elsa Libera Marquez, 57; Ivan Hilierto Manzano, 46; Gloria Irma Marquez, 61; Margie Reckard, 63; Javier Rodriguez, 15; Teresa Sánchez de Freitas, 82; Angelina Englisbee, 86; and Juan Velázquez, 77.0comments
Separately, the FBI also announced it's opening a domestic terrorism investigation in California after learning that a shooter in Gilroy, California, had a list of other potential targets as well. Three people were killed in the July 28 shooting. The shooter, Santino William Legan, wore a bulletproof vest before shooting 39 rounds at the festival.
FBI Special Agent John Bennet said that investigators "have uncovered evidence that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies," of Legan, who killed himself.