Parents of alleged Dayton mass shooter apologize for obit describing him in glowing term while omitting massacre

Connor Betts allegedly killed nine people, including his sister.

August 14, 2019, 6:31 PM

An obituary describing alleged Dayton mass shooter Connor Betts as "funny, articulate and intelligent" has been taken down from a funeral home's website at the request of his family, who is also mourning the death of his sister who was killed in the rampage.

The family of Betts had initially requested his obituary and one for his sister, Megan, be posted on the website of the Conner & Koch Funeral Home, but relatives called the funeral home on Wednesday and asked that Connor Betts' online eulogy be removed, a spokesperson for the funeral home told ABC News. Neither obituary mentioned the massacre their son allegedly carried out.

The obituary was replaced by a note from Betts' parents, Stephen and Moira Betts, expressing regret for the wording in the eulogy.

PHOTO: Authorities retrieve evidence markers at the scene of a mass shooting, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.
Authorities retrieve evidence markers at the scene of a mass shooting, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio.
John Minchillo/AP

"Stephen and Moira Betts apologize that the wording of the obituary for their son Connor was insensitive in not acknowledging the terrible tragedy that he created," the parent's note reads. "In their grief, they presented the son that they knew which in no way reduces the horror of his last act. We are deeply sorry."

The obituary for Megan Betts, 22, who was scheduled to graduate from college later this year, remained on the funeral home's website Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Connor Betts allegedly launched the Aug. 4 shooting rampage in an entertainment district of Dayton, killing nine people, including his sister. The Betts family had released an earlier statement saying they are "shocked and devastated" by the shooting and thanking police and firefighters for their "quick response to minimize casualties."

Betts was killed by police as he attempted to storm a bar in Dayton's Oregon District.

PHOTO: Deceased mass shooting suspect Connor Betts of Bellbrook, Ohio appears in an identity photograph released by police in Dayton, Ohio.
Deceased mass shooting suspect Connor Betts of Bellbrook, Ohio appears in an identity photograph released by police in Dayton, Ohio.
Dayton Police Dept. via Reuters

“It was taken down," a spokesperson for the Conner & Koch Funeral Home told ABC News of Betts' online obituary. "We do focus on serving the families. They are the ones who had it posted and they called today to ask that it be taken down."

Asked if the funeral home was getting criticism from the community for posting the obituary, the spokesperson declined to comment.

"A funny, articulate and intelligent man with striking blue eyes and a kind smile, Connor Stephen Betts, age 24, of Bellbrook, passed away Sunday, August 4th, 2019," the obituary written by the grieving family stated.

The obituary, which the Daily Mail took a screengrab of before it was taken down, went on to describe him as an "avid reader," and choral singer, who also enjoyed playing Xbox and camping with the Boy Scouts.

The obituary for Megan Betts described her as "a loving, intelligent, and bright young woman," who was scheduled to graduate from Wright State University in Dayton with a degree in Earth science.

PHOTO: Megan Betts is pictured in an undated handout photo.
Megan Betts is pictured in an undated handout photo.
Obtained by ABC News

"She hoped to work for NASA to be a part of exploring the viability of life on other planets," the obituary reads.

The obituaries for the brother and sister came a day after Dayton police released new surveillance video of the shooting rampage and updated the victim total, revealing that 26 people were shot in the roughly 30-second attack. Nine were killed in the massacre.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said it's still unclear if Betts' sister and her companion, who was injured, were intentional targets. The motive for the shooting remains under investigation.

No one besides Betts has been found to be involved in the shooting, authorities said. But one of Betts' friends appeared in court Wednesday on federal charges that arose during the investigation of the massacre.

Ethan Kollie, 24, is facing federal charges of lying about not using drugs on federal firearms forms to purchase his own firearm, and unlawfully possessing firearms while using controlled substances, according to a criminal indictment unsealed on Monday. The federal form requires gun purchasers to answer the question, "Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance." Kollie had allegedly checked "no" on the form, but also told investigators he was a "regular drug user," according to indictment

Kollie allegedly purchased body armor, a 100-round drum magazine and a part for the high-powered rifle Betts used during in the shooting rampage, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Ohio.

Federal authorities have said there is no indication that Kollie knew Betts was planning the killing rampage.

Hours after the shooting, special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) interviewed Kollie at his home in Kettering, Ohio. He indicated that he had purchased the items for Betts, and kept them at his home so Betts's parents couldn't find them, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman told reporters at a news conference Monday.

During the course of the initial interview, agents "observed in plain sight" what appeared to be a bong and a pistol, and smelled marijuana, Glassman said.

A U.S. magistrate judge on Wednesday continued a detention hearing for Kollie until Thursday after an agreement couldn't be reached on his release. Kollie has not yet entered a plea and his attorney said on Tuesday that Kollie "was as shocked and surprised as everyone else that Mr. Betts committed the violent and senseless massacre in the Oregon District."

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