BELLBROOK, Ohio (FOX19) - The family of a man accused of opening fire into a bar district in downtown Dayton made its first statement to the public Tuesday evening.
"The Betts family would like to express their enormous gratitude and love for everyone that has reached out and given their support during this awful time,” the statement reads. “They ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy in order to mourn the loss of their son and daughter to process the horror of Sunday’s events.”
Connor Betts, 24, is the suspected gunman in a mass shooting that occurred early Sunday morning in Dayton’s Oregon District, where 27 were injured and 9 were killed. Dayton police responded and stopped Betts by fatally shooting him 30 seconds after he fired the first shots.
Betts’ 22-year-old sister Megan Betts was his first victim, police have said.
Connor Betts was said to be exploring violent ideologies, special agent in charge of the Cincinnati office, Todd Wickerham, announced Tuesday.
His former girlfriend also said he had long wrestled with mental illness that manifested itself in a fascination with tragedy, uncontrollable urges to unleash violence and suicidal thoughts so deep he twice put a gun in his mouth, ready to pull the trigger.
Bellbrook Police Chief Doug Doherty released the Betts family statement on their behalf Tuesday, three days after the attack that left both their son and daughter dead.
The family is offering condolences and prayers to all the victims, Doherty said in reading the statement. The family thanked first responders and law enforcement for their efforts in minimizing casualties.
Doherty said the family is cooperating with the FBI and Dayton Police Department in the shooting investigation.
The Betts family wouldn’t further comment on the investigation, per the statement.
Family members are receiving Bellbrook police protection around their home since the shooting, according to the statement.
Numerous political figures have spoken about the shooting, including Gov. Mike DeWine, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and President Donald Trump.
DeWine and Whaley have both called for gun control measures, with DeWine proposing “red flag” laws requiring stricter background checks and court approval for gun sales for people who the courts deem potentially dangerous.
Whaley has also called for more gun reform measures to be taken at the state and federal levels.
You can read the full Betts family statement here:
"The Betts family is shocked and devastated by the events of Sunday morning in the Oregon District. They offer their most heartfelt prayers and condolences to all the victims, their families and friends. They thank the first responders from the Dayton Police and Fire Department for their quick response to minimize casualties and to all who provided aid and comfort to the victims. They also thank Chief Doherty and the Bellbrook Police Department for providing a peaceful environment surrounding their home.
"The Betts family is cooperating with law enforcement in their investigation into this tragedy. They respect the investigative process being conducted by the Dayton Police Department and the FBI, and will not further comment on the investigation. The Betts family would like to express their enormous gratitude and love for everyone that has reached out and given their support during this awful time. They ask that everyone respect the family’s privacy in order to mourn the loss of their son and daughter and to process the horror of Sunday’s events.