‘Just loud gunshots everywhere’: Witness recounts scene at Oregon District shooting

Eyewitness account of Oregon District shooting

DAYTON — A witness to Sunday’s shooting in the Oregon District said he arrived at 1 a.m., parked his car, and heard gunshots as he was walking east on Fifth Street.

“Gunshots. Just loud gunshots everywhere. You couldn’t hear anything but that. Everybody screaming and running and just trying to get away,” said Robert Woodruff of Dayton.

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He said he was five to 10 feet away from shooter and began running as soon as he heard the shots.

“The direction I was running from a guy got shot in the head and fell in front of me,” he said. “I tried to run the other way and when I did, my phone and my keys flew out of my pocket and flew over somebody’s car. I ran the other way and bullets and people started dropping the other way. I started crawling the other way and dead people start falling that way. I thought I was about to die until the officer was standing over the top of me he started shooting at the guy.”

Pastor Ayo Ogunduyile of the Zion Baptist Church in Dayton said he prayed with families who lost a loved one in the mass shooting. He called the gathering of families in the Convention Center a ?€œsea of blacks people?€ victimized by a hate crime.

Woodruff said he and others were trying to take cover behind a parked car.

“I was on one side of the car and he was on the other side of the car. Shooting at everybody. We ran for the front of the car, he was shooting at us that way; we ran to the back of the car he started shooting at us there until the officer came and started shooting it out with the guy. The officer saved our lives. “

He said the shooter had a mask on, a hood pulled up and was wearing “big ear phones.”

“He was just a dark figure,” he said.

At the scene

Dayton Daily News reporter Amelia Robinson, an Oregon District resident, came to the scene after the shooting.

“Yeah, we heard gunshots, which is why we came over here to see what was going on, because obviously we care about the neighborhood,” Robinson said. “We have many friends who live and work on Fifth Street.”

Robinson said the scope of the tragedy was severe from the very beginning, as bartenders, police and witnesses told her there were multiple fatalities.

“I started my career as a cops reporter, and I’ve never seen this many Dayton Police in one area in my whole career,” Robinson said. “I’ve seen officers walking around with rifles, which is something I’ve not seen in my neighborhood, obviously, ever.

“We’re going to have to come together yet again as a community to sort of get through this — another tragedy, unfortunately,” Robinson said.

Witness Interview: Tonya Vanmeter