A woman purporting to be the former girlfriend of Connor Betts — the gunman shot dead by police after killing nine people in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning — says he exhibited mental illness and disturbing behavior during the course of their relationship.
In a blog post shared to Medium, Adelia Johnson writes she met Betts in a Social Psychology class at Sinclair College in January 2019 and quickly bonded over their “mental illnesses.” According to Johnson, Betts told her that he suffered from bipolar disorder and possibly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), while she revealed her own battle with depression, anxiety, and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Johnson indicates by March 2019 that she and Betts began dating while she was engaged to her fiancée — and that all three were aware of the polyamorous arrangement.
At one point in her blog post, Johnson details the pair’s first date — drinks at a bar and a debate they had against someone she described as a “Republican.”
“A couple of drinks later, Connor asked me if I saw the video of the synagogue shooting,” Johnson then writes. “As someone who makes a point to never watch those videos, I hadn’t. So, he pulled out his phone and I was too drunk to care that I was watching it. Thankfully the bar was too loud for me to hear what was going on. Connor gave me the play-by-play of what was happening.”
According to Johnson, Betts was the “perfect gentleman” during the course of their relationship and “never pushed me to do things I didn’t want to do,” though she says she witnessed multiple “red flags” as time went on. In March or April 2019, Johnson writes that one night Betts got “super drunk” and began mumbling that he “wanted to hurt a lot of people,” though she wrote his slurrings off as the result of sadness mixed with alcohol. Johnson then writes that a month later, Betts asked her to drive him to “one of his friends” to deliver a letter. The address turned out to be the home of Betts’ ex-girlfriend, a detail he hid from Johnson until she pressed him on who the letter was for.
“Then I asked to read the letter,” she writes. “I don’t remember the exact words, but it was something to the effect of ‘Welcome to the neighborhood. You can’t outrun your past. Signed, Your Neighbor.’ I asked him about that, about if he knew how messed up that was. He tried to downplay it as a joke. But I knew it wasn’t, so I pushed further. He admitted that sometimes he got uncontrollable urges to do things.”
Johnson says Betts admitted to doing terrible things with his friends, such as burning down a vacant building, but he told her that he “always felt terrible afterward.”
A few days, Johnson broke up with Betts.
“I hope you find peace and never have to stress about anything again,” he wrote Johnson after being dumped.
Johnson is not the first to allege Betts exhibited signs of mental illness.
High school classmates of Betts say he was once 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 said there was nothing in the background of 24-year-old Connor Betts that would have prevented him from purchasing the .223-caliber rifle with extended ammunition magazines that he used to open fire outside a crowded bar. Police on patrol in the entertainment district fatally shot him less than a minute later.
Both former classmates told The Associated Press that 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 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,” said the female classmate.
A former cheerleader, the woman said she didn’t really know 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 Schools officials declined to comment on those accounts, only confirming that Betts attended schools in the district.
A Twitter account appearing to be from the gunman who killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio, showed tweets labeling himself a “leftist,” bemoaning the election of President Donald Trump, supporting Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and encouraging people to cut fences of immigrant detention centers.
While investigators try to determine a motive for Sunday’s attack by Betts, his apparent account offers a window into his politics. Though the Twitter account @iamthespookster does not bear Betts’ name, it does include selfies that resemble known photos of him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.