Oregon District Shooting: Whaley reflects on aftermath, challenges one year after mass shooting

Oregon District Shooting: Whaley reflects on aftermath, challenges one year after mass shooting
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (Staff Photo)

DAYTON — Editor’s Note: This interview with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley is part of News Center 7′s coverage of the one-year anniversary of the Oregon District Shooting.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley remembers a knock at her door in the middle of the night Aug. 4, 2019. A city attorney passed on the message that the city had become the latest in the U.S. to become victim of a mass shooting.

>>Dayton unveils plans for remembrance on 1-year anniversary of Oregon District Shooting

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“I asked what’s happened, he said there’s been a mass shooting in the Oregon District, 9 people have died,” Whaley told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell.

Whaley sat down with Campbell ahead of the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting that killed nine victims to reflect on the immediate aftermath and what has happened in the city in the year following the event.

Whaley said when she made it to the Oregon District, she described images of crime scene markers everywhere and workers in hazmat suits. A food cart that looked like it was ready to serve customers, but no one was there. Federal investigators were “tearing a car apart” in a nearby parking lot.

She said she went to work, meeting with the families of the victims and providing updates to the community. She wanted to start a push to make Dayton the “last place” this happened, Whaley told Campbell.

“I’m really disappointed Mike, I was very hopeful that Dayton would be the city that broke free of the gridlock.”

The Dayton mayor also expressed her frustration with lawmakers, saying she has not seen movement on gun control or Red Flag Laws that satisfies her.

“When we get common-sense gun legislation through, that will be a day of great joy,” Whaley said.

As the one-year mark approaches this week, Whaley said several challenges still surround the shooting, including COVID-19, as the pandemic forced the city to change their plans to honor the victims.

“I would really prefer us to all be able to come together. We’ve tried to do what we can to honor the community and the people we’ve lost and be thoughtful of their families,” Whaley said.

Despite the limitations in the events for the one-year mark, Whaley said she wants to make sure the emotional toughness of the Dayton community is highlighted for all the events the area went through, and is going through, including the tornadoes, pandemic, and mass shooting.

“This is an amazing place with amazing people that do not give up, that’s why it’s such an honor to be their Mayor,” she said.