The classmates of a man who shot and killed nine people in Ohio claim he kept a “rape” and “hit list” which saw him suspended from school.
One of the nine people he shot with his .223-caliber rifle was his 22-year-old sister, Megan, who was with a male companion who was wounded but expected to survive.
Two former classmates told The Associated Press that Mr Betts was suspended during their junior year at suburban Bellbrook High School after a hit list was found scrawled in a school bathroom.
That followed an earlier suspension after Mr Betts came to school with a list of female students he wanted to sexually assault, according to the two classmates, a man and a woman who are both now 24 and spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern they might face harassment.
“There was a kill list and a rape list, and my name was on the rape list,” the woman said.
A former cheerleader, the woman said she didn’t really know Mr Betts and was surprised when a police officer called her cellphone during her freshman year to tell her that her name was included on a list of potential targets.
“The officer said he wouldn’t be at school for a while,” she said.
“But after some time passed he was back, walking the halls. They didn’t give us any warning that he was returning to school.”
Bellbrook-Sugarcreek School officials declined to comment on those accounts, only confirming that Mr Betts attended schools in the district.
The discovery of the hit list early in 2012 sparked a police investigation, and roughly one-third of Bellbrook students skipped school out of fear, Dayton Daily News reported.
It’s not clear what became of that investigation.
Chief Michael Brown in Sugarcreek Township, which has jurisdiction over the Bellbrook school, did not return calls Sunday about whether his agency investigated the hit list.
Though Mr Betts, who was 17 then, was not named publicly by authorities at the time as the author of the list, the former classmates said it was common knowledge within the school he was the one suspended over the incident.
‘100 per cent avoidable’
Drew Gainey was among those who went on social media Sunday to say red flags were raised about the shooter’s behaviour years ago.
“There was an incident in high school with this shooter that should have prevented him from ever getting his hands on a weapon. This was a tragedy that was 100 per cent avoidable,” he tweeted.
Mr Gainey did not respond to messages from AP seeking further comment, but the name on his account matches that of a former Bellbrook student who was on the track team with Mr Betts.
Former Bellbrook Principal Chris Baker said he “would not dispute that information” when the Daily News asked him Sunday about the hit list suspension. He declined to comment further to the newspaper and the AP was unable to reach him.
Mr Betts had no apparent criminal record as an adult, though if he had been charged as a juvenile that would typically be sealed under state law.
“There’s nothing in this individual’s record that would have precluded him from getting these weapons,” Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said.
‘A nice kid’
Not everyone who went to school with the killer had bad things to say.
Brad Howard told reporters in Bellbrook on Sunday that he was friends with him from preschool through their high school graduation.
“Connor Betts that I knew was a nice kid. The Connor Betts that I talked to, I always got along with well,” Mr Howard said.
Mike Kern, a customer at the petrol station where Mr Betts used to work in Bellbrook, said he hasn’t seen him in about a year.
“He was the nicest kid you could imagine,” Mr Kern said.
“I never heard him talk about violence, say a racist word, or anything like that.”
He said they sometimes played trivia at a bar near the petrol station, and Betts often knew the answers on questions about current events and pop culture.
“He was real smart,” Mr Kern said.
“He knew all the answers.”
With the Associated Press
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