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30 Seconds Of Carnage: Ohio Shooting Has High Toll Despite Swift Response


We're going to turn now to NPR's reporter Brakkton Booker, who is in Dayton covering the shooting, the investigation and the aftermath.

Brakkton, thanks for being here.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: Thank you for having me.

MARTIN: We asked the mayor of Dayton about that vigil. What can you tell us about it? What did it look like, sound like? What was the scene?

BOOKER: Well, there were tons of people. It's impossible to count because everyone was on 5th Street in the Oregon District, not far from - just a couple steps away from where the shooting took place less than 24 hours earlier from when the vigil was held at 8 o'clock Sunday evening. Now, I will tell you, Rachel, I've been to more vigils than I can remember - Parkland and Pittsburgh and a couple of months ago in Virginia Beach. This one, there was singing. There was prayer. There were even 10 doves that were released - one for the survivors and the other nine to represent the lives lost early Sunday morning.

Now, one thing that the mayor did not mention was when Ohio's Republican governor, Mike DeWine, addressed the crowd. Now, when governor - when the mayor addressed the crowd, she got a standing ovation. When the Republican governor addressed the crowd, he was received politely at first. But as he began talking, he eventually got shouted down.

Here's what it sounded like.


MIKE DEWINE: ...We do tonight by this amazing crowd...

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Chanting) Do something...

DEWINE: ...Is to say...

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: ...Do something...

DEWINE: ...To them that we love you...

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: ...Do something...

DEWINE: ...We care very, very deeply about you.

BOOKER: The crowd was shouting, do something, do something...


BOOKER: ...A nod to, you know, pass some stricter gun laws in the state.

MARTIN: Officials have said the shooter was a 24-year-old white male. He was heavily armed. We heard the mayor describe the weapons that he was carrying. What more can you tell us?

BOOKER: Yeah. Police paint a picture of someone who was intending to inflict maximum damage. As the mayor said, you know, the gunman had a .223-caliber assault-style rifle and it had a hundred-round drum attached to it. What she didn't mention was that he was also - had a bullet-proof vest. He had hearing protection and a mask - all these things that show that he was ready to inflict some really devastating pain there. Officers responded within seconds - within 30 seconds. And at least six officers reportedly fired on the gunman.

Now, about the gun, she did say it was obtained legally. It was purchased over the Internet. It originated in Texas, and it was transferred to a gun shop in Dayton. And police say nothing - nothing in his record would've barred him from obtaining those weapons. The only thing that showed up in his record were a few minor traffic violations.

MARTIN: What do we know about the victims?

BOOKER: So nine people lost their lives in all. The youngest victim was actually the gunman's sister. Her name was Megan Betts. She was 22 years old. And the ages range from 22 to 57. Now, six of these victims were black. And Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl was asked if race played a factor in the shooting, and here's what he said.


RICHARD BIEHL: We have no evidence to suggest that there's a bias motive in this crime at this time.

MARTIN: But Brakkton, his sister - his sister was one of the victims? Do we know yet if that - if she was a target?

BOOKER: Well, that is not clear at this point. What police did say is that the gunman, his sister and another person arrived at the downtown area at the same time. At some point they got separated. And police say that the - that she was one of the initial victims but not the first victim that lost their life early Sunday morning.

MARTIN: OK. So obviously the investigation is ongoing. And we will be covering details as they emerge with NPR's Brakkton Booker, who is reporting in Dayton this morning. Brakkton, thanks. We appreciate it.

BOOKER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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