- Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Ohio congressional lawmakers openly condemned the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday morning that killed nine people.
- Rep. Mike Turner from Dayton tweeted that his daughter was across the street from the bar in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District when the shooting occurred at 1:07 AM, and that she and a friend fled home while he prayed.
- Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown called for the Senate to meet Monday moning to pass the Background Check Expansion Act introduced in January that would require universal background checks for firearm transfers, which has stalled in the Senate after being passed in the House in Feburary.
- Rep. Tim Ryan, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, issued a statement asking Congress to end its August recess and “take up a package of legislation meant to stop these acts of horror.”
Ohio politicians, including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Senator Sherrod Brown, along with Representatives Mike Turner and Tim Ryan, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, have responded following the mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio early Sunday morning that left nine dead, in addition to the shooter.
Whaley held two press conferences before noon in Dayton to confirm 10 deaths, including the shooter, and 26 injuries, from the 30-second attack that occurred at 1:07 a.m. in the Oregon Historic District outside the Ned Peppers bar.
Local police didn’t confirm the shooter’s identity, but Brown told CNN’s Jake Tapper in Sunday morning’s “State of the Union” that he is a white male in his early twenties who lived in a town outside Dayton, but within Montgomery County, where the Oregon District is.
Law enforcement sources told CBS that the shooter was identified as Connor Betts, a 24-year-old from Bellbrook, Ohio. No motive was reported as of Sunday morning.
“I don’t mean to scare people, but we’re in a situation now in our country where these are so random,” Whaley told reporters during her second press conference on Sunday.
“As far as the district, it’s one of the safest places in the region. Dayton has gone through a really tough year. Three months ago, early in the morning, the day after Memorial Day, we had a discussion about 14 tornadoes that ravaged our city,” Whaley continued on to say, referencing the tornadoes that touched down in the area in late May.
“To be awakened in the middle of our night to a mass shooting and the 250th shooting in our country this year happened in Dayton. What really goes through my mind is one seems completely preventable, and I question ‘When is enough, enough?'”
Whaley also posed a question to elected officials in Washington, D.C. while speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, asking why laws have yet to be changed after over 200 cities have experienced mass shootings.
"My question for [elected D.C. officials] is … we're city number 250, how many cities have to go through mass shootings before somebody does something to change the law?" Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) asks on #MTP.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 4, 2019
The mayor also noted that she had received dozens of calls, texts, and emails, many from other mayors of other cities where mass have taken place, offering condolences and advice. Brown relayed the same anecdote while speaking to Tapper Sunday morning, and noted that he finds it hard to understand why “our government lets this happen.”
“The response I had in addition to sadness is anger that Congress still doesn’t do its job,” Brown told Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “The House of Representatives has passed background check legislation, the Senate could meet tomorrow. I hope that Senator McConnell would bring the Senate back tomorrow, and pass the background check bill and send it to the president. The president must sign it, period.”
The background check legislation Brown referenced is the Background Check Expansion Act, a measure introduced by the House of Representatives in January on the anniversary of the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona, during which Representative Gabby Giffords and 18 others were shot during a constituent meeting in a supermarket parking lot.
The House passed the act, which would require universal background checks, including on gun transfers between private parties, in Feburary. It has stalled in the GOP-controlled Senate, as Leader Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the bill to a vote. Brown criticized the influence of the gun lobby, specifically the National Rifle Association, on elected officials in Congress.
“I know Dayton very well. It’s just hard to understand why this happens and how this happens,” Brown said to Tapper. “Congress has just got to act and say no to the gun lobby for the first time.”
Brown also criticized President Donald Trump for what he called his “divisive, racist rhetoric that he has employed increasingly.” Trump issued two tweets about the Dayton shooting, including one that says “God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.” He is scheduled to spend the day golfing until 4 p.m.
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
“I do know that we’ve had two presidents, the two preceding presidents who dealt with terrible terrorism and mass shootings and tried to heal and this president doesn’t,” Brown said on “State of the Union.”
In addition to Whaley and Brown, Ohio Representatives Mike Turner and Tim Ryan, who is a 2020 Democratic presidental candidate, responded. Turner tweeted that his daughter and her friend were across the street from the incident, which Dayton police reported occurred outside, when the shooting began.
“My daughter & a family friend had just entered the Tumbleweed Connection when the shooting began across the street. Both reported of the visible @DaytonPolice presence before the shooting and the bravery they witnessed as officers ran toward the gun shots,” Turner tweeted.
My daughter & a family friend had just entered the Tumbleweed Connection when the shooting began across the street. Both reported of the visible @DaytonPolice presence before the shooting and the bravery they witnessed as officers ran toward the gun shots.
— US Rep. Mike Turner (@RepMikeTurner) August 4, 2019
“My daughter & friend fled into #OregonDistrict & contacted me at 2am. As they ran home, I followed their progress & prayed for them & our community. Thank you to @DaytonPolice for their bravery in stopping this evil,” Turner, who represents Ohio’s 10th district and is from Dayton, continued on Twitter.
My daughter & friend fled into #OregonDistrict & contacted me at 2am. As they ran home, I followed their progress & prayed for them & our community. Thank you to @DaytonPolice for their bravery in stopping this evil.
— US Rep. Mike Turner (@RepMikeTurner) August 4, 2019
Ryan, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, issued a statement calling on Congress to immediately ends its August recess to pursue gun legislation.
Ohio Rep Tim Ryan statement on #Dayton mass shooting, calling on Congress to immediately end August recess to take up gun legislation
“We can’t continue to offer up the same condolences again and again with no action to protect our communities.” pic.twitter.com/FDt94d8RFd
— Homa Bash (@HomaBashWEWS) August 4, 2019
“These acts affect every American family, our children are taught to shelter in place in our schools, our public spaces feel suffocating with escalating security barriers and feelings of unease. That is I’m calling in Congress to immediately end its August recess and reconvene in Washington to take up a package of legislation meant to stop these acts of horror and other acts of gun violence that affect every single American,” Ryan’s statement says.
The Dayton, Ohio mass shooting occurred less than 24 hours after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that claimed 21 lives so far and left 26 others injured.
This article has been updated to reflected the latest fatality count from both mass shootings.