On Sunday, 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire outside of a crowded bar in downtown Dayton, Ohio. He shot and killed nine people, and injured nearly 30 others. While police have said there was nothing on his record that would have prevented him from buying his weapon of choice—the .233-caliber rifle with extended ammunition magazines—former classmates are coming forward with incredibly disturbing information that definitely should have landed him on a no-buy list.
What, precisely? A “hit list” and a “rape list.” It’s exactly what it sounds like, according to his former classmates, who spoke to the Associated Press. The “hit list” was of people the then 17-year-old wanted to kill, and the “rape list” was of people he wanted to rape. These lists allegedly got him suspended from school in 2012, but he eventually returned. And, apparently, this wasn’t enough to stop him from buying a weapon later in life.
Accounts of these lists floated on social media over the weekend, but not all details are confirmed. Here’s what we know: Two former classmates told the AP that the shooter was suspended during their junior year at Bellbrook High School over a hit list found written in a school bathroom. Prior to this, he’d been suspended for bringing a rape list of female students he wanted to attack to school.
How many chances does a white male get? So, so many.
“There was a kill list and a rape list, and my name was on the rape list,” said a female classmate, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of harassment. “The officer said he wouldn’t be at school for a while,” she recalled to the AP about the aftermath of the rape list. “But after some time passed he was back, walking the halls. They didn’t give us any warning that he was returning to school.”
When speaking to CNN
, also on an anonymous basis, a former classmate told the news outlet he had been called to a school administrator’s office and told he was “number one” on the list of students the shooter wanted to kill. An additional person told CNN about how information about the lists circulated, as they recalled it. Also speaking anonymously for privacy reasons, this person told CNN that the shooter sent messages about the list to a classmate, who then told her mother. Her mother told the police. From there, the police went to the school and talked to people on the list in the school’s office.
"Personally, it freaked me out," the classmate who was told she was on the list told CNN. "I started having panic attacks in the school building."
If this horror doesn’t get someone on a watch list, what will?