Dayton police say they are 'not close' to a motive for mass shooting, but no evidence it was racial

A day after the mass shooting that left 10 people dead, including the gunman, and more than two dozen others wounded in Dayton, Ohio, police say they are not close to establishing a motive for the killings.

“Not close enough, not close enough at all,” Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters Monday. “We have a lot of evidence still to go through.”

But unlike the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Biehl said the shooting in Dayton early Sunday does not appear to have been racially motivated.

“We are not seeing any indication of race being the motive,” Biehl said. “But we are not through all the evidence. And so until we are through all the evidence we cannot rule that out. But I’m saying we are not seeing anything at this time to suggest race as a motive.”

Mourners gather at a vigil following a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Mourners gather at a vigil following a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The gunman, 24-year-old Connor Betts, was wearing a mask, a bulletproof vest and hearing protection when he opened fire outside a nightclub in Dayton early Sunday. Police in the area neutralized Betts within 30 seconds, Biehl said, and he died at the scene — but not before he was able to get off at least 41 shots with a .223-caliber high capacity rifle, killing nine people, including his sister, and wounding as many as 30 others.

Biehl said authorities were still trying to understand why Betts shot his sister, who had driven earlier in the evening to the Oregon nightlife district with Betts and another companion, who was wounded in the shooting. The three apparently parted at some point before the shooting.

“It seems to just defy believability that he would shoot his own sister,” Biehl said. “But it’s also hard to believe that he didn’t recognize that it was his sister.”

Of the nine killed, six were black.

Biehl said Betts had just a pair of traffic violations on his record, and that the rifle and a shotgun found at the scene were purchased legally.

Police in El Paso say the shooter in that massacre, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, had posted an anti-immigrant “manifesto” before killing at least 22 people at a Walmart in the border city. Crusius, who was taken into custody, told authorities that he wanted to kill as many Mexicans as possible.

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