DAYTON, Ohio – Nine people were killed and at least 27 injured Sunday in a shooting in a popular nightclub district of downtown Dayton, Ohio, police say.
Officers killed the lone suspect after he fired for less than a minute from a “.223 high-capacity” gun, and he had additional magazines with him, Mayor Nan Whaley said. The .223 caliber is used in rifles like the AR-15 assault rifle used in previous mass shootings.
Deb Decker, public information officer for Montgomery County, said the shooter used an assault rifle.
The event followed by 13 hours a shooting that left 20 dead in El Paso, Texas.
The Dayton shooting took place about 1 a.m. on East Fifth Street in the city’s Oregon District, Dayton Deputy Director and Assistant Chief of Police Lt. Col. Matt Carper said early Sunday morning.
Police have identified the suspect, but have not released any information about him to the public.
The shooting happened as the suspect was making his way toward a bar called Ned Peppers, Decker said.
Someone from Ned Peppers grabbed the barrel of the rifle, and the shooter “picked up a handgun and was willing to continue shooting,” Decker said, when police arrived and killed the shooter.
The shooter wore body armor, she said.
No officers were injured, Carper said.
“In less than one minute, Dayton first responders neutralized the shooter,” Whaley said.
“I really want to — think about that minute. The shooter was able to kill nine people and injure 26 in less than a minute. And if we did not have police in the Oregon District and the thousands of people in the Oregon District enjoying their Saturday evening, what we could have had in this city,” Whaley said.
“The question has to be raised, why does Dayton have to be the 250th mass shooting this year?”
Police believe that the suspect acted alone and that there is no remaining threat to the community, but the investigation is ongoing, Carper said, and the FBI is assisting. The motive for the shooting was not immediately clear.
Those who fled the scene reportedly moved so fast, they left behind articles of clothing such as shoes.
‘Bodies all over the place’
Graham Hunter, 24, of Dayton said he and four friends arrived just as the incident was over and immediately came upon the body of the shooter outside.
“Everyone was panicking and running around,” Hunter said. “After the shooter was dead, everyone was just crying and stuff,” and he saw “bodies all over the place.”
A police officer told him and his friends to go into Ned Peppers.
He said he and his friends consider the area a safe, fun place to hang out on weekends, where many people walk around outdoors and enjoy patios at restaurants and bars.
“It’s a nice spot,” he said. “It’s where everyone goes to hang out.”
Hospitals respond to influx of wounded
Elizabeth Long, spokeswoman at Kettering Health Network, which operates several Dayton-area hospitals including Kettering Medical Center and Grandview Medical Center, said 13 people were taken to three of the network’s hospitals, many with gunshot wounds to the “lower extremities.”
At least one person was shot in the abdomen, and at least two people were taken into surgery. She did not give an age range for the injured.
Miami Valley Hospital received 14 patients, plus two others across its health system, emergency physician Dr. Randy Marriott said. Twelve had been treated and released by 10 a.m. ET Sunday.
Most of the injuries were gunshot wounds, but there were others, like cuts received while people were fleeing the scene.
“At this point, we can say we’ve had one critical, four admitted, none have gone to surgery,” Marriott said.
Most people arrived via ambulance or police car, but several others arrived on foot or by personal vehicle later, Marriott said.
Congressman’s daughter was in the area
Dayton-based US Rep. Mike Turner tweeted that his daughter and a friend had just entered a bar across the street when the shooting began. “As they ran home, I followed their progress & prayed for them & our community. Thank you to @DaytonPolice for their bravery in stopping this evil.”
Gov. Mike DeWine said in a statement that he was “absolutely heartbroken” and ordered flags flown at half-staff.
US Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, tweeted, “It is beyond time for our leaders to do what is necessary to enact laws that keep guns out of the hands of people wishing to do harm. This has to stop. #EnoughIsEnough #EndGunViolence”
President Donald Trump tweeted, “The FBI, local and state law enforcement are working together in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio. Information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton. Much has already be learned in El Paso. Law enforcement was very rapid in both instances. Updates will be given throughout the day!”