Nine people were killed and 26 others injured Sunday morning in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio, authorities said, raising the death toll in a grim week of mass shootings across the U.S.
The suspected shooter, who has not been identified, is also dead, according to police.
The attack came less than a day after a man with an assault-style weapon killed 20 in El Paso and a week after a gunman fired on a garlic festival in Gilroy, California, killing three people including a 6-year-old boy and wounding 12 more. With the country still grieving, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley noted that Dayton’s tragedy was just the latest.
“As a mayor this is a day that we all dread happening,” she said in a Sunday morning news conference. “And certainly what’s very sad as I’ve gotten messages from cities across the country is that so many of us have gone through it.”
The shooting shattered a typical summer weekend night’s revelry in Dayton’s Oregon District, outside the 400 block of East 5th Street and amid a busy nightlife scene of bars and restaurants, according to authorities. Police said officers ended the violence “quickly” by shooting the suspect, who began firing at 1:07 a.m.
The suspect used a 223-caliber high capacity magazine while wearing body armor, according to Whalen. The suspect had additional magazines. Officers neutralized him in under a minute, she said, and that quick response saved lives.
“While this is a terribly sad day for our city, I am amazed by the quick response of Dayton police that saved literally hundreds of lives,” she said, adding that the 26 injured are at area hospitals and that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine – who she has been in contact with – gave his condolences.
Miami Valley Hospital received 16 victims for treatment, spokeswoman Terrea Little told the Associated Press. Kettering Health Network was treating multiple victims as well, spokeswoman Elizabeth Long said, though she did not have numbers.
Authorities said they believe there was only one shooter and have yet to identify the suspect, though they are interviewing dozens of people. The FBI is aiding the investigation. Police have not yet provided the names of victims.
Whaley would not speculate on the gunman’s motive.
“I can’t get inside his head,” Whaley said.
Dayton Police Department Lieutenant Colonel Matt Carper said it is too early in the investigation to determine whether the gunman was targeting anyone or any place specifically.
Just hours after the shooting, the scene on Fifth Street had been cordoned off with police tape and the area was largely deserted. But as daybreak settled over the city, more and more people filed into Dayton’s convention center seeking missing loved ones at an information station set up by the city.
Joe Oglesby said he was “numb” when he found out his niece, Lois Oglesby, was among the victims. Oglesby said his 29-year-old niece had just had a baby last month and had an older child. “She was a nurse’s aide and a very devoted mother,” Oglesby said.
Jazze Pigue, 26, of Dayton arrived at the convention center to find her cousin. Initial reports put the shooting around Ned Pepper’s nightclub, which Pigue said her cousin liked to visit. The recent rash of U.S. shootings and Dayton’s addition to the long list of places attacked is “disheartening,” she said.
The shooting is one in a string of high-profile challenges the city has faced this year. A Ku Klux Klan rally drew hundreds of protesters to the city in May, followed by a round of destructive tornadoes that chewed through the northern party of the city, and now the shooting.
“Dayton has been through a lot lately, but I continue to be amazed at the grit and resiliency of the community,” Whaley said.
The governor ordered flags to fly at half-staff as people around the world expressed their sadness over the latest mass shooting to devastate the country. Pope Francis gave his condolences for the victims of U.S. shootings that hurt “defenseless people.” Newly elected British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted out his sympathy, too
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the Dayton shooting and is monitoring the situation, deputy White House press secretary Steven Groves told the Associated Press.
Trump’s first tweet on the shooting Sunday morning focused on law enforcement’s response, praising the speed and saying “information is rapidly being accumulated in Dayton.”
“Much has already (been) learned in El Paso,” he wrote.
“God bless the people of El Paso Texas,” he added in another tweet. “God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.”
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Kevin Williams, Hannah Knowles