I-Team: What is ‘bystander fatigue’? FBI says this led to no one reporting Oregon District shooter

DAYTON — After more than two years, the FBI has closed its investigation into the Oregon District Mass Shooting.

>> RELATED: FBI investigation into Oregon District Mass Shooting closed

On Monday, federal investigators released their final report to the I-Team.

In part of its report, the FBI said “bystander fatigue” was one of the main reasons why no one reported Connor Betts to authorities before his murderous rampage in August 2019.

The I-Team’s John Bedell has been following this investigation for more than two years and talked to a local psychologist to learn more about bystander fatigue.

>> RELATED: FBI: Oregon District shooter ‘fantasized about mass shootings,’ however no specific warnings seen

The FBI said no one reported Betts to the authorities before his attack in the Oregon District because the people closest to him were essentially desensitized to his concerning behavior because they were exposed to it over a long period of time.

The last bullet point in the FBI’s two-page report says the following:

“Information obtained from interviews with the attacker’s friends and peers suggested ‘bystander fatigue’ was potentially a major factor in why the attacker was not reported to authorities prior to committing violence.”

Doctor Kathy Platoni, a Centerville-based clinical psychologist, says she has treated several people who suffered traumatic experiences in the Oregon District shooting.

Platoni gave some perspective on bystander fatigue.

“I like to refer to it as bystander effect. It pretty much means the same thing,” Platoni said. “We become desensitized to it. We think it could never happen here, I don’t want to be a snitch, nobody will take me seriously, this person has never threatened to bring harm on any scale, let alone a mass scale, so people figure somebody else is going to report.”

Given Betts’ violent past, Platoni says one lesson to prevent future tragedies could be to change our awareness of people who, like Betts, have red flags in their behavior.

“The signs were there that are clearly indicative if you look at the psychology behind the threats– the hit list, the rape list, wanting to kill people who had done harm to him, that was there,” Platoni said.

It’s something Dion Green, who lost his dad in the shooting, Derrick Fudge, says he’s thought about following the final report where FBI behavioral analysts found Betts had a history of mental illness and a fascination with mass violence.

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“And that’s why I tell people, like ‘if you’re comfortable to approach that person and you see these type of actions, approach them, but if not, get somebody professional,’ but don’t let these things go unannounced, because the unannounced turns into what happened down here,” Green said.

The FBI said there were no specific warnings Betts intended to commit a crime, and no indications he talked about his plans with anyone.

The FBI met with families of the shooting victims in October 2020 to update them on this investigation.

Two of those families told the I-Team the FBI told them Betts’ parents refused to talk to federal investigators.

“I knew we weren’t going to get enough closure because the parents haven’t spoke to the FBI,” Green said.

Logan Turner’s dad, Mike, told News Center 7 in August, “I challenge his mom and dad to help give me some more light on this situation. I wish that they would open up their hearts and talk to us so they can fill in the blank spaces the FBI can’t.”