Thousands attend benefit for Dayton shooting victims

Gem City Shine

DAYTON, Ohio (FOX19/AP) - Thousands came out Sunday night for a benefit concert to reclaim Dayton’s Oregon District and raise money for the victims and survivors of the mass shooting there.

Gem City Shine included music, food and games for the whole family.

Kanye West led a star-studded group of musicians and artists who flew to Dayton on their own dime.

Earlier, West hosted a Sunday Service in a Dayton park.

Stevie Wonder headlined the event, which also featured Chance the Rapper and Talib Kweli.

Yellow Springs resident Dave Chappelle served as host and warmed up the crowd

“Today we’re going to show the world that nothing will get us down. Dayton, Ohio, no matter what’s going on, no mater how tough times get, we hold our heads up high 'cause we know we’re about. O-H-I-O,” Chappelle said.

Comedian Jon Stewart addressed the crowd, and got them to sing “Happy Birthday” to Chappelle.

Dayton resident Tony Herman says he was working in the Oregon District the night of the shooting.

“I sat on these streets on the corners at the same time he was wandering around. I’ve been through the alleys that he walked through and it really affected us as a town. You know, so I think this is showing that we can come together as a city and that we’re Dayton Strong,” Herman said.

READ MORE | Dayton shooting

On Aug. 4, Connor Betts armed himself with an assault-style rifle and went on a shooting rampage for 32 seconds before Dayton police were able to stop him. The massacre left nine people dead.

“We not just doing this for our city. We doing this for every victim of every mass shooting in our country,” Chappelle said.

Many folks say they are still feeling the pain but want to look forward instead of dwelling on the past.

“I’m hoping it will motivate everybody to put their heads together to bring something back to Dayton. That’s what I’m hoping. That’s what I see,” Dayton resident Derrik Wilkinson said.

Dayton police say more than 15,000 people attended Gem City Shine.

Organizers say to expect more events like this in the coming months.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says no taxpayer money was used for the benefit.

Copyright 2019 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.