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FBI concludes investigation into the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton's Oregon District

Shoes of victims are piled at the scene of Sunday's mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
John Minchillo
Shoes are piled outside the scene of a mass shooting on Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.

The FBI has officially closed its investigation into Dayton's 2019 Oregon District mass shooting that left nine people dead and 17 injured. Investigators outlined their findings in a report released Monday, after more than 125 interviews, reviewing about 400 hours of security camera footage, and analyzing electronic devices, social media content and "other evidence."

The report says Connor Betts likely violated federal law when he lied about his drug use in 2019 while purchasing the firearm used in the attack. Other equipment used in the shooting, including firearm parts, body armor and a 100-round magazine, were "acquired on open market internet sites" with the help of friend Ethan Kollie. (Kollie pleaded guilty to illegally possessing certain firearms and lying on a federal firearm transaction form. He was sentenced to 32 months in prison in February 2020.)

Local police shot and killed Betts within 30 seconds of his first shot fired from the high-capacity rifle filled with 100-round drum magazines. Without the ability to interview the perpetrator, the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit investigated Betts' motivation for the shooting.

'No specific warnings'

The report says Betts was unable to cope with personal problems and was fascinated with mass violence. Investigators say Betts fantasized about mass shootings, serial killings, and murder-suicide for years, but was not directed by an organization or aligned with any specific ideological group.

The report says there's no indication Betts told family or friends about his intention to commit violence, and despite a history of mental illness, "there were no specific warnings he intended to commit a crime." Still, investigators say "bystander fatigue" contributed to friends and family not reporting Betts' concerning behavior.

"The term 'bystander fatigue' is used by the FBI's BAU to describe the passivity, inaction, or inattention to concerning behaviors observed by individuals who have a close, interpersonal relationship to a person of concern due to their prolonged exposure to the person's erratic or otherwise troubling behavior over time," the report says.

It's important for bystanders to look for subtle changes that could indicate future violence, like "a change in personal circumstances, an increase in perceived stressors, or language indicating they may be contemplating suicide."

FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers says the investigation took much longer than expected because some of the digital evidence was encrypted.

"However, we are confident that it has uncovered the key facts and that we have done everything in our ability to provide answers to those impacted by this horrible attack," Rivers said in a statement.

Now that the investigation is concluded, Rivers says no further updates are likely.

See the full report below:

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.