FBI Says Dayton Gunman Explored ‘Violent Ideologies’

Dayton Ohio shooter Connor Betts

Dayton Ohio shooter Connor Betts

Chuck Ross on August 6, 2019

An FBI official said Tuesday investigators have evidence Dayton, Ohio, shooter Connor Betts explored “violent ideologies” prior to an attack that left nine dead Sunday morning, but there was no indication the shooting was racially motivated.

“We have uncovered evidence throughout the course of our investigation that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies,” Todd Wickerham, the FBI special agent in charge of the Cincinnati field office, said at a press conference.

Wickerham did not describe the ideologies in question, but Betts’ social media activities appear to show he described himself as a “leftist” and expressed support for Antifa, a left-wing activist group. Betts also appeared to have said on Twitter that he would vote for Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

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Betts, 24, opened fire early Sunday morning in Dayton’s nightlife district, killing nine people, including his sister. Betts reportedly arrived in the area with his sister and a male friend and wore body armor during the attack.

Wickerham said at the press conference that investigators have not determined Betts’ motive or whether he was assisted in the attack.

Hours before the shooting, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius allegedly murdered 22 people in El Paso, Texas. Crusius is believed to have posted a manifesto shortly before the shooting in which he railed against a “Hispanic invasion” into the U.S.

Authorities arrested Crusius following the attack and he faces capital murder charges. The Justice Department designated the massacre an act of domestic terrorism and a potential hate crime that could lead to the death penalty.

The two shootings have sparked debate over gun control, as well as the role political motivations may have played in both massacres. Liberal journalistscriticized CNN and other news outlets for reporting on Betts’ social media history and his political ideology. Daily Beast editor Justin Miller said that “CNN recklessly speculates the Dayton shooter may have been politically motivated.”

Betts also had a history of misogyny and mental illness. In high school, he was expelled after compiling a list of female classmates he wanted to rape. One ex-girlfriend wrote in an online essay that Betts once showed her a video of a synagogue shooting.

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