The killings of 31 people during two separate mass shootings left America in shock and renewed concerns about racial hatred.
Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old white man from a Dallas suburb, was arrested for killing 22 people and wounding more than two dozen at an El Paso Walmart packed with back-to-school shoppers on Aug. 3 The majority of the victims were Hispanic and authorities worked to confirm whether a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto posted online shortly beforehand was written by Crusius.
Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 4, another young white man, 24-year-old Connor Betts of Bellbrook, Ohio, was killed by police after shooting to death nine people and injuring more than 25 at a popular nightlife area. The dead included six Black people and Betts’ own sister, Megan.
In Dayton, the bloodshed was probably limited by the swift police response. Officers patrolling the area took just 30 seconds to stop the shooting, which unfolded around 1 a.m. on the streets of the downtown Oregon District, Mayor Nan Whaley said.
Video released by police shows Betts being shot down by officers, just steps away from entering a bar filled with hiding patrons.
Had police not responded so quickly, “hundreds of people in the Oregon District could be dead today,” Whaley said.
Whaley had been in touch with other mayors around the country dealing with rampant gun violence. “It is a terrible day for Dayton but I am so grateful for Dayton police’s fast action,” she said.
Authorities were surprised that the shooting took place in what they describe as a safe part of the city. Betts fired near two pubs. Blind Bob’s and Ned Pepper.
The border city of El Paso is home to 680,000 people, 80 percent of them Hispanic. The suspect in the shooting, Crusius, was charged with capital murder and held without bond. Authorities said he had a ”stone cold look” when he surrendered.
“It was a look I’d never seen before, and I’ve been on this force for 31 years,” one official said. “I’ve seen murderers, robbers, nothing like this.”
El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said he knew the shooter was not from his city.
“It’s not what we’re about,” the mayor said at a news conference with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the police chief.
Crusius is believed to have authored a racist, anti-immigrant document that laid out a dark vision of America overrun by Hispanic immigrants. With the hate-filled writing were the words, “I’m probably going to die today.”
President Donald Trump denounced both shootings and said, “Hate has no place in our country.”
Nine people killed in Dayton, Ohio:
- Lois L. Oglesby, 27, a black female;
- Saeed Saleh, 38, a black male;
- Derrick R. Fudge, 57, a black male;
- Logan Turner, 30, a white male;
- Nicholas P. Cumer, 25, a white male;
- Thomas J. McNichols, 25, a black male;
- Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis, 36, a black female;
- Monica E. Brickhouse, 39, a black female;
- Megan Betts, 22, white female.