Ohio shooting suspect had been suspended from school for making a 'rape list' of girls he wanted to attack
The Ohio gunman who killed nine people on Sunday had previously been suspended from school over a "hit list" of classmates and a "rape list" of girls he wanted to sexually assault. Connor Betts, 24, opened fire outside a crowded bar in the early hours of Sunday, injuring dozens and leaving his own sister among the fatalities, before police on patrol in the area shot him dead. It has now emerged that the gunman had a history of violence, leading to questions over how he was able to purchase the fire arms used in the shooting spree. According to high school classmates, Betts was suspended during their junior year at suburban Bellbrook High School after a hit list of those he wanted to kill was found scrawled in a school bathroom. That followed an earlier suspension after Betts came to school with a list of female students he wanted to sexually assault, according to the two classmates, a man and a woman who are both now 24 and did not wish to be identified. "There was a kill list and a rape list, and my name was on the rape list," the female classmate told the Associated Press. Mourners leave flowers and candles at the entrance of Ned Peppers bar in the Oregon District following a memorial service Credit: Scott Olson/Getty A former cheerleader, the woman said she didn't really know Betts and was surprised when a police officer called her cellphone during her freshman year to tell her that her name was included on a list of potential targets. "The officer said he wouldn't be at school for a while," she said. "But after some time passed he was back, walking the halls. They didn't give us any warning that he was returning to school." The school district has not commented on those accounts, only confirming that Betts attended schools in the district. A former principal, Chris Baker, who retired this summer, told the Dayton Daily News "would not dispute that information" but refused to give any further information. However police said there was nothing in the 24-year-old's background that would have prevented him from purchasing the .223-caliber rifle with extended ammunition magazines that he used in Sunday's attack. The discovery of the hit list early in 2012 sparked a police investigation, according to local media reports, but it is not clear whether it led to any further action. Betts had no apparent criminal record as an adult, though if he had been charged as a juvenile that would typically be sealed under state law. "There's nothing in this individual's record that would have precluded him from getting these weapons," Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said on Sunday. The rifle Betts used in the shooting spree was fitted with an extended drum magazine that could hold 100 rounds. The gun was bought legally online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to a local firearms dealer, police said. Betts' sister Megan Betts, 22, was one of the first to be killed. Police said the siblings had arrived in the same vehicle with a third person earlier in the evening, but separated before the rampage. Of the 27 people injured, four remained in serious condition and one person in a critical condition. While Betts, who was 17 at the time, was not named publicly as the author of the list at the time, the former classmates said it was common knowledge within the school he was the culprit. Drew Gainey was among those who went on social media Sunday to say red flags were raised about Betts' behaviour years ago. "There was an incident in high school with this shooter that should have prevented him from ever getting his hands on a weapon. This was a tragedy that was 100% avoidable," he wrote on in a post on Sunday. Brad Howard, who said he was friends with Betts from preschool right until their high school graduation, offered a different assessment. "Connor Betts that I knew was a nice kid. The Connor Betts that I talked to, I always got along with well," he said. Mike Kern, a customer at the gas station where Betts used to work in Bellbrook, said "he was the nicest kid you could imagine". "I never heard him talk about violence, say a racist word, or anything like that," he added. Mr Kern said they sometimes played trivia at a bar near the gas station, and Mr Betts often knew the answers on questions about current events and pop culture. "He was real smart," he said. "He knew all the answers."
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