Oregon District Shooting: Stories of survival, hope and change, one year later

Oregon District Shooting: One year later

This week marks one year since the mass shooting in the Oregon District.

On August 4, 2019, a gunman opened fire on Fifth Street. In the 32 seconds before police killed him, he shot dozens of people. 9 of the victims, including the shooter’s sister, died.

News Center 7 has been covering the shooting, the heroes, and what has changed in the year since that tragic night. There are also memorials and events this week, including a special mosaic being created by the city of Dayton, and 9 minutes of silence. Click here for a list of events this week.

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The Investigation

In the days after the shooting, Dayton Police provided a timeline, surveillance video, and a moment-by-moment account of what happened. That news conference can still be viewed here. One person, a friend of the shooter, was sentenced to prison for his involvement in the gun used in the shooting. He has not yet started his prison sentence. The investigation into the shooter revealed disturbing patterns, and a legal battle over records from when he was in school. FBI agents told News Center 7′s John Bedell this week that the reason the investigation is still open is that investigators are still trying to nail down the exact 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. However, they say there is not one clear violent ideology. Read the full update on the investigation here.

The victims

Their names were written on chalkboards and signs throughout the area. Their lives touched people throughout the Miami Valley, and beyond. The anger was immediate, and the mourning remains profound for 9 people who were killed by the shooter that night.

Those are their names, but there was so much more to their lives than the way their lives ended. Over the past year, we have talked with their families, their friends, their coworkers and their loved ones, all sharing in the pain of their loss, and the joy of the lives they lived. News Center 7 will continue telling their stories Tuesday at 11 p.m.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke about the Oregon District Shooting, sharing the still raw emotions we have in remembrance of that day. He also held a moment of silence for those we lost in the tragedy one year ago today during his 2 p.m. news conference.

The heroes and survivors

It was only 32 seconds, and the tragedy would have been worse if not for the heroes who jumped into action. Six police officers were involved in stopping the shooter; so was an unarmed bouncer at Ned Peppers. And countless people in the crowded street shielded others, rushed them to safety, and jumped in to provide medical aid in whatever way they could.

Alana Young was one of the survivors. Shot in the leg, she managed to get into Blind Bob’s, warning customers and the band as she rushed to barricade in an office. Click here for her emotional story, and how that night changed her life.

News Center 7′s Cheryl McHenry shares the story of a now-retired Sinclair police officer, who was one of the officers that was working that night and remembers vividly responding to the Oregon District after hearing scanner traffic about the gunfire. Click here to view his story.

Kasey Hughes and Cameron Campbell were there that night, the moment they escaped bullets captured forever on a doorbell camera. They shared with News Center 7′s James Brown a story highlighting the trauma that remains for so many; they saw fireworks this 4th of July, and the loud booms immediately brought them back to that night in the Oregon District. Click here to view their story.

They are not alone. Psychologist Kathy Platoni, who treated ODS officers, spoke with News Center 7′s Cheryl McHenry about anniversary symptoms. Cheryl also talked with two shooting survivors on emotional trauma they’ve experienced. Click here for their story.

The goodness of the community

There were several moments of heroism during the shooting, and in the frantic scramble to save lives immediately afterwards. The question heard most after the shooting was “Why?” The next most asked question was “How can I help?” A stunned community reacted and began finding ways to do whatever they could to help the victims, the survivors and the businesses in the Oregon District. The Dayton Foundation set up a fund for the victims, with $4 million dollars donated so far. The family of Logan Turner, one of the victims, set up a scholarship fund in his name. The recipient was announced this week for a scholarship in the name of Nicholas Cumer.

Changes in the law

“Do something!”

When Bob Mendenhall, the co-owner of Blind Bob’s and Lily’s Bistro, shouted “Do something” as the governor spoke, those words resonated and became a chant in the crowd. Then they became a movement, as a frustrated and scared America desperately asked that someone do something to stop the shootings. Mendenhall says he didn’t pre-plan those words, they just came to him as he yelled them. But the words made a difference with the community and lawmakers. “Some chanted ‘do something’ and they were absolutely right,” Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said when he announced proposed changes to the law. “We must do something and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

Those changes have not all come to fruition. News Center 7′s Jim Otte spoke with Governor DeWine about what he has done, and what he says he is trying to do. He also spoke with state Senator Peggy Lehner from Kettering. “I feel like I let the community down,” she told Otte. “I’m still committed to pass some reasonable, sound gun legislation but nothing has happened in a year.” Click here to read that story and see those interviews.

News Center 7′s Mike Campbell spoke with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, about her experience that night and the frustration she has faced in trying to get new laws passed. Click here to see that interview.

This story will continue to be updated with coverage of the events this week, the people they honor, and the ways the Miami Valley has changed in the year since the shooting. Watch for special coverage all week from News Center 7.