Police in Dayton, OH were able to quickly respond and kill the man who opened fire in Dayton, Ohio’s Oregon District early Sunday morning, but not before the killer took the lives of 9 people and injured many more. Dayton Police Lt. Col. Matt Carper says the murderer targeted a popular nightclub and entertainment district in the city around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, shortly before many of the businesses would close.
There were officers on regular patrol in the Oregon District, which he called a very popular and usually safe section of the city.
There was “a very short timeline of violence” because the officers were on their regular patrols of the district. “We’re very fortunate for that,” he said. “We had officers in the immediate vicinity when this shooting began and were able to respond and put an end to it quickly,” Carper said.
Several area police departments responded to a “Signal 99” broadcast asking for all available police to respond to the district. Agents with the FBI and ATF are on scene as well.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says the killer was armed with a rifle and was wearing body armor as well as a mask when he carried out his attack. Police, meanwhile, say the killer was engaged by officers and was killed himself less than a minute after the attack began.
“This is extremely unusual, obviously, for any community, let alone Dayton,” Carper told reporters. “In our Oregon District, this is unheard of.”
The Oregon District is a historic neighborhood that Carper described as “a safe part of downtown,” home to entertainment options, including bars, restaurants and theaters. The shooting took place outside, on the 400-block of East 5th Street
Witnesses said they saw an unspecified number of “walking wounded” in the area, according to local media reports.
Tianycia Leonard, 28, told the Associated Press she was out back, smoking, at Newcom’s. She heard “loud thumps” that she initially thought was people pounding on a dumpster.
“It was so noisy, but then you could tell it was gunshots and there was a lot of rounds,” Leonard said.
President Donald Trump weighed in on the attack Sunday morning as well, noting the rapid response of officers in both the Dayton attack and the attack in El Paso, Texas that left 20 dead just hours before.
The FBI, local and state law enforcement are working together in El Paso and in Dayton, Ohio. Information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton. Much has already be learned in El Paso. Law enforcement was very rapid in both instances. Updates will be given throughout the day!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2019
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has ordered flags across the state to be flown at half mast, and issued a statement calling the mass murder a “heinous act”.
“Fran and I are absolutely heartbroken over the horrible attack that occurred this morning in Dayton. We join those across Ohio and this country in offering our prayers to victims and their families. I have spoken with Mayor Nan Whaley and offered any assistance on behalf of the state. I have been briefed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol has offered assistance to local law enforcement as they investigate this heinous act. I commend Dayton Police and other first responders for their bravery and quick response to save lives and bring an end to this tragedy.”
At this point, police have not released the identify of the killer or any of his victims, and say a motive is still unknown.