DAYTON, Ohio – The beautiful tree-lined, brick-paved streets of the Historic Oregon District were eerily quiet Sunday following a mass shooting outside Ned Peppers Bar on East 5th Street earlier that morning. Nine victims have been confirmed dead thus far and more than two dozen injured. Police, who were on the scene within one minute, shot and killed the suspect. Praise for their fast response is coming in from all around the city, and state including from the Oregon District itself.
From Mayor Nan Whaley’s press conference just after 10:00am, “At 1:07 this morning this event occurred in our Historic Oregon District. The suspect was wearing body armor and used an AK-like gun, assault rifle, 223 caliber rifle with high capacity magazines and he had additional magazines as well. We had ten fatalities including the shooter – that number is still the same from this morning. The hospitals have had 27 people treated and 15 discharged as of 10:00 this morning.”
“In less than one minute, Dayton first responders neutralized the shooter. I’m just still completely amazed at the heroic nature of our police department where they did first aid, stopped the shooter within under a minute, so we’re grateful for their service,” the Mayor said.
Watch the press conference here (Mayor Waley’s remarks begin at 2:25min):
One neighbor who lived just four blocks from Ned Peppers said she had been down there two hours prior. “Fortunately I went home early. It’s just horrifying. I think everybody’s just in shock. I mean no one thinks that things like this are going to happen so close to home. But unfortunately I think we’re all realizing its happening everywhere all the time. It’s really sad. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Two men who lived in the Oregon District couldn’t talk about the incident. One told The Ohio Star, “We’re just going to go have breakfast and reflect.”
Another local, Bryan St. John, was being interviewed by The Washington Post. “This is usually a safe place to grab a few drinks, get something to eat,” he said. When asked about his thoughts on the violence, he mentioned copycats getting ideas from what others have done. “There’s nothing you can do about a crazy person with a gun,” St. John said.
The Post reporter wanted to know St. John’s opinion on the various sides of the gun debate. “When people say that you should ban guns it goes back to 1991 and the Killeen Luby [Texas] shooting where the lady was under the table and had to watch her parents get shot and followed the law and left her gun in the car … she could’ve stopped that guy. She had the shot. If her gun was in her purse and not in her glovebox she could’ve saved some more people. There were 23 killed there.”
Two Neighborhood Assistance Officers who volunteer with the Police Department were guarding the west entrance to East 5th Street. Billy Eshelman and Raymond Dill got the call at 6:45 am. Eshelman has served 45 of the 50 years the organization has existed and Dill has been active since 2005. Eshelman told The Ohio Star, “They called us out and told us to put us on the post and that’s what we do.”
Governor Mike DeWine and the First Lady, Fran, met with mourners at the Convention Center, just five blocks from the scene. They too lauded the police and the first responders. He shared on Facebook, “Fran and I are absolutely heartbroken over the horrible attack that occurred this morning in Dayton…I commend Dayton Police and other first responders for their bravery and quick response to save lives and bring an end to this tragedy.”
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Beth Lear is a reporter at The Ohio Star. Follow Beth on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].