Report: Oregon District shooter kept journal, wrote about desire to be mass killer

DAYTON — Newly-released portions of journals belonging to the man who carried out the Oregon District shooting in 2019 paints a picture of a man who desired to be a mass killer in the years before he carried out the shooting, according to the FBI.

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Details of an FBI presentation were first reported late Wednesday night by The Cincinnati Enquirer who obtained the presentation through a public records request, the newspaper said. Excerpts of Connor Betts’ journal were presented during an FBI Citizens Academy Alumni Association.

News Center 7 has filed a separate public records request with the FBI and we are awaiting a response.

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Betts, 24, of Bellbrook killed nine people, including his own sister, and injured several more when he opened fire in the Oregon District August 4, 2019. Betts was shot and killed by responding Dayton police officers just before he was able to run inside a busy bar.

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The journal entries provide further context and new details into the FBI’s final investigative findings that were released in 2021. The FBI said in their report Betts “fantasized” about things like mass shootings and serial killings, however he never shared specific feelings with friends or family.

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According to the Enquirer report, excerpts from Betts’ journal in 2015, 2016, and 2017 were shared during the FBI presentation where Betts wrote his desires to kill and be famous for his actions.

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“I really want to be a serial killer. Like, that’s my only aspiration in this life. Failing that (because I fail b/c I’m a failure lol) I’ll settle for spree killer....Bellbrook is not equipped or prepared for an active shooter situation. Hopefully it’ll make me famous, this slaughter of heathens and infidels, this massacre of innocents/innocence. Some people are born evil, this is the way of things. Someone has to balance the scales. I’ll see if I can help the cause a little,” Betts wrote in a July 2015 entry, according to the newspaper.

“My thoughts are plagued with thoughts of suicide, torture, and mass murder,” he said in an October 2016 entry.

In a January 2017 entry included in the FBI presentation Betts wrote: “I’ve always known my purpose, my goal, my path; to kill again and again, until I am caught or killed. There can be no avoiding this truth any longer. It is simply a facet of my life that must be addressed and dealt with.”

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The final report publicly released by the FBI in 2021 noted losses of multiple “stabilizing anchors” in Betts’ life just before the mass shooting. However the FBI did not specify those suspected destabilizing factors.

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According to the Enquirer report, the FBI presentation listed those suspected factors including a loss of his friend group, problems at work, getting kicked out of his band, a break up with a girlfriend and resumption of drug use as his destabilizing factors.

These reports coincide previous NewsCenter 7 I-Team reporting, where people who knew Betts said they were uncomfortable with his behavior in the weeks leading up to the attack. This included a split between Betts and a band just weeks before the attack, and a split between him and his girlfriend in late spring of 2019.

The presentation also noted Betts started buying firearms in 2013, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The gun he used in the attack was bought in early 2019 and additional pieces of equipment used in the attack, including body armor and the 100-round magazine, were bought on open market internet sites, according to the FBI.

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