Ohio shooter kept a 'hit list': classmates

MICHAEL BIESECKER and JULIE CARR SMYTH
Connor Betts killed his 22-year-old sister and eight others in the latest US mass shooting, in Ohio

High school classmates of the gunman who killed nine people in Ohio on Sunday, say he was suspended for compiling a "hit list" of those he wanted to kill and a "rape list" of girls he wanted to sexually assault.

The accounts by two former classmates emerged after police have said there was nothing in the background of 24-year-old Connor Betts that would have prevented him from purchasing the .223-calibre rifle with extended ammunition magazines that he used to open fire outside a crowded bar.

His own sister, 22-year-old Megan was among the victims.

Police on patrol in the entertainment district fatally shot him less than a minute later.

Both former classmates have told news agencies that Betts was suspended during their junior year at Bellbrook High School after a hit list was found scrawled in a school bathroom.

That followed an earlier suspension after 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.

"There was a kill list and a rape list, and my name was on the rape list," said the female classmate.

The woman said she didn't really know Betts and was surprised when a police officer called her during her freshman year to tell her that her name was included on a list of potential targets.

Though Betts, who was 17 at the time, was not named publicly by authorities as the author of the list, the former classmates said it was common knowledge he was the one suspended over the incident.

Former Bellbrook Principal Chris Baker said he "would not dispute that information" when asked about the hit list suspension. He declined to comment further.

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.

Not everyone who went to school with Betts had bad things to say. Brad Howard said he was friends with Betts 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," Howard said.

Meanwhile, a sombre crowd of hundreds gathered Sunday evening to honour the nine victims killed.

They released doves and repeated the names of the dead and but directed an angry chorus at Republican Governor Mike DeWine, interrupting his speech at the vigil with chants of "Make a change" and "Do something!"