DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Nine people in Ohio were killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said.
Dayton police tweeted that an active shooter situation began at 1 a.m. Sunday in a historic district that’s a popular nightlife destination, but officers nearby were able to “put an end to it quickly.” Lt. Col. Matt Carper said at a press conference that the suspect was shot to death by responding officers.
At least 26 others were injured, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said at a press conference. No details about the victims were released.
Miami Valley Hospital spokeswoman Terrea Little said the hospital had received 16 victims, but she couldn’t confirm their conditions. Kettering Health Network spokeswoman Elizabeth Long said multiple victims from a shooting had been brought to system hospitals, but she didn’t have details on how many.
With a population of around 140,000, Dayton is in western Ohio, around 55 miles northeast of Cincinnati, 75 miles west of Columbus and 120 miles east of Indianapolis. The shooting took place in the Oregon District, a historic neighborhood that Carper described as “a safe part of downtown,” home to entertainment options, including bars, restaurants and theaters. The shooting took place outside, on the 400 block of East 5th Street.
Nikita Papillon, 23, was across the street at Newcom’s Tavern when the shooting started. She said she saw a girl she had talked to earlier lying outside Ned Peppers Bar.
“She had told me she liked my outfit and thought I was cute, and I told her I liked her outfit and I thought she was cute,” Papillon said. She herself had been to Ned Peppers the night before, describing it as the kind of place “where you don’t have to worry about someone shooting up the place.”
“People my age, we don’t think something like this is going to happen,” she said. “And when it happens, words can’t describe it.”
Police believe there was only one shooter, and have not yet identified the suspect or a motive. Carper said the suspect used a long gun and fired multiple rounds.
Tianycia Leonard, 28, was in the back, smoking, at Newcom’s. She heard “loud thumps” that she initially thought was people pounding on a dumpster.
“It was so noisy, but then you could tell it was gunshots and there was a lot of rounds,” Leonard said.
The FBI is assisting with the investigation. A family assistance center was set up at the Dayton Convention Center.
“I’m heartbroken,” Whaley tweeted around 6 a.m. Sunday, thanking first responders for their efforts.
Gov. Mike DeWine issued his own statement before 7 a.m., announcing that he’s ordered flags in Ohio remain at half-mast and offered assistance to Whaley.
“Fran and I are absolutely heartbroken over the horrible attack that occurred this morning in Dayton, the statement said. “We join those across Ohio and this country in offering our prayers to victims and their families.”
The Ohio shooting came hours after a young man opened fire in a crowded El Paso, Texas, shopping area, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured. Just days before, on July 28, a 19-year-old shot and killed three people, including two children, at Northern California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Sunday’s shooting in Dayton is the 22nd mass killing of 2019 in the U.S., according to the AP/USA Today/Northeastern University mass murder database that tracks homicides where four or more people killed — not including the offender. The 20 mass killings in the U.S. in 2019 that preceded this weekend claimed 96 lives.