Dayton gunman Connor Betts shot and critically injured his best friend when he killed nine victims including his own sister, Megan, 22. DailyMail.com
Dayton gunman Connor Betts shot and critically injured his best friend when he killed nine victims including his own sister, Megan, 22.
DailyMail.com has exclusively learned that Charles ‘Chace’ Beard, 24, was the man who was in the car with Betts and Megan when they drove to the Oregon District where Betts carried out the second mass shooting of the weekend.
And Beard was among the first victims to be shot by 24-year-old Betts in his so-far motiveless massacre conducted in the early hours of Sunday morning.
He and Megan Betts appear to have been standing outside Ned Peppers Bar when Betts opened fire.
Betts, who was armed with an AR-15, wearing body armor and a mask and had as many as 250 rounds of ammunition, was taken down by cops about 30 seconds after he opened fire.
Chillingly, DailyMail.com can reveal, that Beard and Megan Betts were both ‘among the first victims,’ according to police. Beard appears to be friendly with Megan too, but according to his social media profile is in a relationship with another women.
The two drove in the Betts family’s 2007 Toyota Corolla to downtown Dayton with murderer.
Friends: Charles ‘Chace’ Beard (left and right) was a high school friend of Connor Betts. He drove with Betts and his sister Megan to Dayton from their home of Bellbrook – but Betts shot both of them, killing hisown sister and wounding Beard
Megan Betts was among the first killed in the massacre, according to police, at the same point at which Chances ‘Chace’ Beard was shot and wounded. The three drove together to the Oregon District of Dayton
Killer: Cops are mystified by the actions of Connor Betts in killing his sister Megan and eight other people. Charles Beard is now their most significant witness to an action which Dayton Police chief Richard Biehl said ‘seems to defy believability’
As the sole survivor of the car journey with Betts and a witness to the moments leading up to the atrocity, Beard could hold the key to why Betts embarked on his killing spree.
He was critically ill in the hospital in Dayton Monday but has been been speaking tio police.
But the fact Beard shot both his friend and his sister will only add to questions over his motive for killing nine people.
On Monday Dayton Police chief Richard Biehl said it ‘seems to defy believability’ that Betts would target his sister in what had initially seemed to be a mass shooting without a specific target.
‘It’s also hard to believe that he did not recognize his own sister,’ Biehl said. ‘So we just don’t know.’
The focus on Beard as a possible key to the mystery was stepped up by police Monday.
Two Bellbrook Police officers visited Beard’s parents, James and Linda, for more than 30 minutes Monday afternoon in their home less than a mile away from Betts’s own.
Beard studied computer engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana.
His Facebook page lists him as an electrical engineer for Raytheon, the defense contractor. Dayton’s biggest employer is Wright-Patterson Air Force base.
Beard knew Betts from childhood and went to Bellbrook High School with him.
High School yearbook pictures show Betts and Chace, who were in the same year, performing in school plays together.
They were both in the chorus in a 2012 production of Rogers & Hammerstein’s musical version of Cinderella.
And there are numerous images of them together on Beard’s social media.
The young men’s closeness only seems to be confirmed by a Bellbrook police report.
Betts was arrested and booked for driving under the influence following a traffic stop on 5 May 2016 in the early hours of the morning.
His passenger went home as Betts was taken to the local police station to be processed.
Investigation: Two officers from Bellbrook PD spoke to Charles Beard’s parents James and Linda at the family home Monday. Their son was critically wounded but is also the key witness
As they were: Connor Betts and Charles Beard were part of the drama club at their high school, where both the chorus of Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella in 2012
Childhood friends: Charles ‘Chace’ Beard and Connor Betts goofed around on pictures posted on social media, apparently during their time at high school or soon after
Graduates: Friends Charles Beard and Connor Betts graduated from Bellbrook High School, in the Dayton suburbs
Police said on Monday that it was hard to imagine Betts purposefully shooting his sister but also difficult to believe that he would not have recognized her as he opened fire on the street given the close proximity. The siblings are pictured with their mother Moira Cofer Betts
Connor Betts drove his 22-year-old sister Megan Betts and their friend Charles Beard to Dayton, Ohio in their family’s 2007 Corolla earlier on Saturday evening before he opened fire
Betts was described as ‘glassy eyed’ and struggled with sobriety tests administered on the scene of the traffic stop.
When asked to sign his name to the report Betts scratched out the barely legible word, ‘Handcuffed.’
And when was released later that morning it was Beard who came to collect him, signed him out and agreed to accept responsibility for him.
Yet – confusingly – DailyMail.com has been told that Beard was on the ‘hit list’ that Betts wrote while he was a sophomore at Bellbrook High School.
The existence of that list, divided into two columns: boys he wanted to kill and girls he wanted to rape, is just one of the disturbing details to have emerged as people struggle to understand what could have possibly prompted Betts to act.
Former classmates have described him as obsessed with death, with a history of violence and of having threatened to shoot up the school. He was suspended for a year as a result.
The apparent discrepancy between the ‘hit list’ and Betts’ ongoing friendship with Beard was alluded to by Dayton Police chief when he said he was not drawing conclusions from single pieces of evidence from the past.
Ex-classmate of Dayton gunman Connor Betts says she reported him to police in high school after he told her she was on his ‘rape list’ – as others reveal he had an obsession with death
Dayton gunman Connor Betts allegedly had an obsession with killing and death as former high school classmates say the warning signs were there long before he slaughtered his sister and eight others.
The 24-year-old massacred nine people, including his 22-year-old sister Megan Betts, with an assault rifle at about 1am on Sunday in a section of the city known for its nightlife.
Betts, who was wearing body armor and a mask during the rampage, was shot dead by police outside a bar about 30 seconds after he first opened fire.
As investigators try to piece together a motive and determine if he targeted his sister, a disturbing profile has since emerged painted by former classmates who claim he was obsessed with death, had a history of violence and threatened to shoot up the school.
Multiple former classmates at Bellbrook High School have said they reported Betts’ behavior to police but claim nothing was done to address the red flags and say they weren’t surprised he was responsible for the recent massacre.
Jessica Masseth, a female classmate who was named on a rape list compiled by Betts, said she contacted police at the time and that she handed her phone over to authorities so they could see threats he sent her.
Jessica Masseth, a former high school classmate of Dayton gunman Connor Betts, said she reported a rape list he had compiled to police but claims they did nothing about it
She said that Betts had texted her a copy of the rape list.
‘The school failed us. The police failed us. He spoke and wrote of rape, decapitation and just the total destruction of those on that list, which included me,’ Masseth wrote on Facebook.
‘None of us are surprised by this. My mom called me with his name and I said ‘makes sense’. If Bellbrook High School had taken it more seriously… If the police had treated it like it should have been treated… There are levels of failure here that are sick.
‘This could have been prevented 10 f**king years ago when I made that phone call, when I was interviewed by the police and when I told the school.’
The rape list included girls who had spurned his advances or thought they were better than him. There was another ‘kill list’ that included names of boys who he considered a threat.
Betts was once taken off a school bus by police and then later suspended after the lists were reported to authorities.
An ex-classmate who worked with Betts at a fast food restaurant claims he threatened to kill customers who didn’t leave tips and another said he regularly spoke of rape and decapitation.
‘Conner Betts was a psychopath… I remember when he threatened to shoot up our school and had a hit list of people that he wanted to kill. I’ve worked with him too and he scared the employees on a daily basis,’ Bri Monique said.
‘Everyone who knew him knew he had issues. I would tell people all the time to just stay away from him because he’s threatened to kill people.
‘When the customers didn’t tip him, he would threaten to go to their house and kill them. I thought he was just all talk but then I would be at work by myself with him and hear him chanting things that sounded like he was worshiping the devil. I would be calling his name for him to stop and he wouldn’t answer.’
Betts, who was wearing body armor and a mask during the massacre, was shot dead by police outside a bar about 30 seconds after he first opened fire
As investigators try to piece together a motive and determine if he targeted his sister, a disturbing profile has since emerged painted by former classmates who claim he was obsessed with death
Another woman, who didn’t want to be identified but whose name was on the rape list, recalls receiving a phone call from police during her freshman year to tell her that she was included on a list of potential targets.
‘The officer said he wouldn’t be at school for a while,’ she said. ‘But after some time passed he was back, walking the halls. They didn’t give us any warning that he was returning to school.’
Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools officials have declined to comment about the lists and only confirmed that Betts attended schools in the district.
The discovery of the hit list early in 2010 sparked a police investigation, and roughly one-third of Bellbrook students skipped school out of fear, according to an article in the Dayton Daily News.
Though Betts, who was 17 at the time, was not named publicly by authorities at the time as the author of the list, the former classmates said it was common knowledge within the school he was the one suspended over the incident.
It’s not clear what became of that investigation and police have not yet commented on it.
Former Bellbrook Principal Chris Baker, who resigned last year, said he ‘would not dispute that information’ about the hit list suspension but declined to comment further.
It has also emerged that Betts was a member of junior ROTC military program during his time at Bellbrook.
Demoy Howell, one of his classmates who was also in the program, told the Dayton Daily News that he recalls it having a calming influence on Betts.
‘He was always a bit of an oddball,’ Howell. ‘He had a dark sense of humor — jokes about people dying. He would wear all black. I remember sensing a dark energy around him.
‘I think this is less of a hate crime and more of an ‘I hate everybody’ crime. I honestly feel more comfortable now knowing that he’s gone.’
The image above released by Dayton police shows the .223-caliber rifle and additional high-capacity magazines used by Betts to carry out the shooting
At about 1am on Sunday as the bars were getting ready to close, Betts started shooting at people outside the Ned Peppers Bar with his rifle. Surveillance video showed terrified people fleeing from outside the bar as gunfire rang out
Despite suggestions that Betts had been bulled during high school, some classmates have since come forward to say that wasn’t the case and that he was a ‘classic glorifier of violence’.
He was described by one former classmate as a ‘real scumbag’ who allegedly threatened to kill women and attack his school.
‘You can blame bullying (which would be lying), you can blame media (which would be extremely untruthful) or you can blame a society where threats against women that are bad enough to get you kicked out of high school are simply forgotten and allowed to ferment for almost a decade so he can kill nine people,’ Ben Seitz wrote on Facebook.
‘His violence was simply ignored as a ‘boys will be boys’ rhetorical/willfully ignorant cop out to protect that status quo.
‘A lot of blame all around: He had access to guns, he was toxically masculine a**hole, the cops did nothing about his threats. The list goes on.’
Drew Gainey was also among those who went on social media to say red flags were raised about Betts’ behavior years ago.
‘There was an incident in high school with this shooter that should have prevented him from ever getting his hands on a weapon. This was a tragedy that was 100% avoidable,’ he wrote on in a Twitter post on Sunday.
Police investigating the massacre said that Betts had no criminal record as an adult and it is not clear what, if any, criminal charges he faced when he was under 18.
Ohio law bars anyone convicted of a felony as an adult, or convicted of a juvenile charge that would have been a felony if they were 18 or older, from buying firearms.
Court records show that Betts was arrested for a DUI in 2016, which resulted in a $500 fine and probation. He later spent time in jail after violating his probation, ABC13 reports.
It comes after police said there was nothing in Betts’ background that would have prevented him from purchasing the .223-caliber rifle with extended ammunition magazines that he used to open fire outside the crowded bar.
Betts, pictured graduating from Bellbrook High School in 2013, was suspended over a rape and kill list he compiled in 2010
Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Schools officials have declined to comment about the lists and only confirmed that Betts attended schools in the district. Pictured is Bellbrook High School
At about 1am on Sunday as the bars were getting ready to close, Betts – who was by then dressed in body armor and a mask – started shooting at people outside the Ned Peppers Bar with his rifle.
Investigators are trying to confirm exactly when Betts retrieved the weapon and where he had stashed it in the lead up.
Authorities said a shotgun that was not used in the attack was later recovered from the trunk of his car.
They said he had at least 250 rounds of ammunition on him at the time and they have since recovered about 41 of his spent shell casings at the scene.
The rifle, which was fitted with an extended drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds, had been purchased legally online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to a local firearms dealer.
Police say it was modified after it was purchased. The five men and four women killed in the massacre include: Nicholas Cumer, Logan Turner, Thomas McNichols, Derrick Fudge, Saheed Saleh, Lois Oglesby, Monica Brickhous, Beatrice ‘Nicole’ Warren-Curtis and Betts’ sister Megan.
They ranged in age from 22 to 57.