Ohio shooter’s parents apologise for ‘insensitive’ obituary

Connor Betts, the man accused of killing nine in a mass shootingImage copyright Reuters
Image caption Connor Betts’s family said he was a “funny, articulate and intelligent man” in an obituary

The family of the Dayton, Ohio shooter have apologised for releasing an “insensitive” obituary that fails to mention the “terrible tragedy”.

Connor Betts, 24, was a “funny, articulate and intelligent man”, the tribute said.

The killing of his sister and eight others in a shooting on 4 August was not acknowledged.

Conner & Koch, a funeral home in Bellbrooke, Ohio, posted the obituary to its website on Tuesday.

But after details of the remembrance were reported by US media, it was removed a day later.

In its place, an apology from the gunman’s parents, Stephen and Moira Betts, has been posted.

Image copyright Conner & Koch
Image caption The parents of Connor Betts posted an apology on Conner & Koch’s website

The couple admit they were “insensitive in not acknowledging the terrible tragedy that he created”.

“In their grief, they presented the son that they knew which in no way reduces the horror of his last act. We are deeply sorry,” the brief statement says.

A separate obituary for their 22-year-old daughter, Megan Betts, also posted on the website, did not mention the shooting either.

Brian Koch, the owner of the funeral home that posted the obituaries, confirmed Betts’ family wrote the tributes.

“Our policy is we serve grieving families and carry out their wishes,” Mr Koch told NBC News.

How did the shooting unfold?

In the early hours of 4 August, Betts opened fire at bystanders in Oregon, a busy nightlife district in Dayton’s city centre, police said.

Armed with a .223-calibre assault rifle with high-capacity magazines, the gunman fired 41 shots in less than 30 seconds as he walked towards a nightclub, Ned Peppers.

Officers on patrol in the area managed to fatally shoot Betts before he could enter the busy venue.

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Media captionDayton shooting witness: “As you came outside, you saw the bodies”

Police said “there would have been catastrophic injury and loss of life” had he entered the club.

Detectives investigating the attack say Betts had a fascination with mass shootings, but are yet to identify a motive.

What did the obituary say?

“A funny, articulate and intelligent man with striking blue eyes and a kind smile, Connor Stephen Betts, age 24, of Bellbrook, passed away Sunday, August 4th, 2019,” the obituary said.

Betts was an avid reader, enjoyed swimming, was a Boy Scout, was in his high school marching band, played Xbox games and loved watching the Fox animated show “Bob’s Burgers”, the posting said, according to US media reports.

Image copyright CBS News
Image caption Police said Connor Betts (pictured) fired 41 shots in less than 30 seconds

“Connor will be missed immensely by his friends, family, and especially his good dog Teddy,” the tribute read.

His sister’s obituary mentions her ambition to work for Nasa “to be part of exploring the viability of life on other planets”.

Megan, who was expected to graduate from Wright State University in December with a degree in earth science, had a love of “geology, the earth and space”, the obituary said.

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