The motive of Dayton shooter Connor Betts is still unclear. The Washington Times highlights that he’s a self-described “leftist,” which is causing many to suggest it was politically motivated. Billboard reports that others, such as Dayton TV reporter Jim Heath, appear to be attempting to link the violence to metal music after the suspect was reportedly shown in a photo wearing an Acacia Strain hoodie. However, Altpress reported that research suggests there is no link between metal and real-world violence.
Sky News reports that Betts’ ex-girlfriend Adelia Johnson paints a much more complex picture of the 24-year-old. She claims that — during the time she dated him — Betts struggled with mental illness, which she believes is the root cause of his outward fascination with tragedy. During their first date, Johnson said Betts showed her last year’s Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and narrated it.
Johnson said that Betts always steered conversations toward suicidal thoughts and world tragedies. He reportedly put a gun to his mouth on two separate occasions with the intention of pulling the trigger. He often spoke about serial killers, but she didn’t think much of it because it was a theme explored in a psychology class they took together at Sinclair Community College in Ohio.
“He was super nice to me. Super nice to everyone that I saw him interact with. He was never mean to anyone. (But) apparently he had that in him so.”
Betts reportedly told Johnson that he had bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). At one point, when he was traveling with his metal band, Betts drunkenly told Johnson that “he wanted to hurt a lot of people.”
ICYMI: The revelation of Connor Betts’ showing his then-girlfriend Adelia Johnson the video comes 10 months after 11 people were gunned down inside Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill.https://t.co/Yx5klhmigG
— TribLIVE.com (@TribLIVE) August 7, 2019
But Betts wasn’t known as kind to everyone. Per The Inquisitr, Betts was known to keep a “hit list” and “rape list” in high school and was eventually suspended for scrawling one such list inside a school bathroom. USA Today reports that Taylor Ford, who went to summer camp with Betts, witnessed him choking a girl he was dating. Eva Lewis, a former classmate, claims that Betts threatened to kill her on multiple occasions in high school.
Betts murdered his sister and eight other people before he was killed by police. According to Johnson, “getting shot is exactly what he wanted.”
“He would be the first one to tell you that he hated himself,” she added.
Betts’ family released a statement expressing their “gratitude and love” for the people that have reached out to them.
“They ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy in order to mourn the loss of their son and daughter and to process the horror of Sunday’s events,” it read.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.