Oregon District shooting: FBI continues combing through investigation

DAYTON — Six months after the FBI said it was wrapping up its investigation into the mass shooting at the Oregon District, the case remains open and the motive still not announced.

News Center 7′s I-Team asked federal officials this week why the FBI’s investigation still isn’t finished after Chris Hoffman, the Special Agent in Charge of the bureau’s Cincinnati field office, told reporters on February 16, “We’re very close to wrapping it up,” when he was asked about the probe into Connor Betts’ motive.

Even though Hoffman said he could not give a set time frame back in February, he did say then he expected the federal investigation to wrap up soon.

The FBI declined to say why the investigation was still open at this point when contacted by News Center 7 this week.

>> One year later: Click here to see the stories from the Oregon District on News Center 7

Three days after his murderous rampage through the Oregon District on Aug. 4, 2019, the FBI said why it was taking over the investigation into gunman Connor Betts’ motive.

“We have uncovered evidence throughout the course of our investigation that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies,” said Todd Wickerham, former Special Agent in Charge at the FBI’s Cincinnati office.

This week, the FBI confirmed to News Center 7′s John Bedell that they have not found any one group or ideology that influenced Betts. Instead, federal investigators said the investigation is focused on Betts’ interest in violence in general, a statement that backs up the News Center 7 I-Team’s previous reporting on Betts.

News Center 7 has reported on Betts’ involvement with a vile heavy metal spin-off band, where he sang lyrics laced with sexual violence against women. There have also been reports on violent outbursts in high school and at theater cast parties.

“He put his hands around her neck and started choking her,” said Chynna Ellenburg, a former classmate of Betts at Bellbrook High School.

There was another incident at a festival in Bellbrook involving Betts.

“That’s when Connor pulled out a razor knife out of his pocket ... he held it about 8-10 inches away from my throat and just glared at me,” former classmate Mat Terry told News Center 7.

And then, there were hit and rape lists he made at Bellbrook High School.

As the News Center 7 I-Team uncovered, Betts’ criminal juvenile record was expunged and destroyed in the years leading up to his attack.

That’s why, in an effort to track his behavior before the shooting, WHIO-TV is one of several news organizations suing the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local Schools district for Betts’ academic records.

The district says student privacy laws mean the records should not released.

WHIO-TV lawyers argue any privacy rights Betts had, died with him.

The Ohio Supreme Court held their hearing on the case online in June due to COVID-19 concerns. A ruling is expected by the end of the year.

Our request to interview the Betts family as part of this story were not returned.

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