Officials: Police Bullets Struck Two Dayton Mass Shooting Victims, But Were Not Responsible for Any Deaths

Autopsy results released today also show that mass shooter Connor Betts had cocaine and other substances in his system at the time of the shooting

Aug 15, 2019 at 3:51 pm
Dayton - Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

Autopsies have revealed that two victims of the Aug. 4 Dayton mass shooting were also hit by Dayton Police gunfire during the 30-second exchange between officers and shooter Connor Betts.

An autopsy on Betts himself, meanwhile, revealed he had cocaine, alcohol and Xanax in his system when he opened fire on a crowd in the city's popular Oregon District. 

Betts used a semi-automatic .223 caliber AR-15 with a 100-round magazine to kill nine people and injure many more during the shooting, which took place about 1 a.m. outside nightclub Ned Peppers. 

One of Betts' female victims who was also struck by police bullets died. Officials, however, say that the wounds sustained by that victim from Betts' firing before officers' bullets entered the victim's body were already grave and likely not survivable due to massive blood loss  

"We could create hypothetical situations that aren't real, but unless these wounds occurred next to an operating room, they were not survivable," Montgomery County Coroner Kent Harshbarger told reporters today of the initial wound from Betts' weapon.  

Officials called the wound suffered by another surviving victim "superficial." 

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl expressed regret that police gunfire struck innocent bystanders, but stressed that the scene was "chaotic" and that Betts needed to be stopped from shooting more people. 

"There is a danger to reacting and a danger to not reacting," Biehl said. 

Betts' body had 52 entry and exit wounds — likely representative of 24-26 shots fired by police. 

"Until (the suspect) is separated from his weapon, lethal force is warranted," Biehl said, noting that Betts attempted to get up twice after officers initially opened fire on him.