High school classmates of 24-year-old mass shooter Connor Betts are speaking out about signs that called attention to the Ohio gunman long before he opened fire outside a crowded bar Sunday morning.
Connor drove to the shooting site with his 22-year-old sister, Megan, along with a companion of hers.
Also along for the ride: nearly 250 rounds of ammunition.
He was purportedly killed by police within about half a minute of his first shots being fired.
But the murderous spree left nine dead — including Megan and her friend.
Some schoolmates of Betts aren’t surprised.
Jessica Masseth attended Bellbrook High School with Connor; she was a sophomore during his freshman year.
She claims she began receiving disturbing texts from him that year, telling her she was on his “rape list.”
As reported by The Daily Beast, the messages described in detail “what he wanted to do to” to her.
One text listed all his intended victims.
Finally, Jessica went to the cops.
Masseth says word of the 15-person “rape or kill” list spread quickly in 2010. He kept it in a notebook he carried.
“He had a kill list that was mostly guys and then a rape list that was mostly girls. … The lists basically had any girl who turned him down, any girl who thought they were above him, and any guy that was competition or was seen as a threat.”
Jessica was surprised to find herself among his targets — she was “not one of the popular girls.”
She described the future mass murderer as having a “God complex mixed with Iwantattention'”
To the best of her recollection, she never had a full conversation with him.
But, as expressed Monday, she remembers the evil signs of things to come:
“I was not surprised at all when I heard his name on the news yesterday. We predicted he would do this 10 years ago.”
And she wonders why law enforcement didn’t do more:
“In the texts, and on the lists, he talked about destruction and dismemberment. I mean how did the police not know he was going to do something like what he did this weekend? Everyone knew he was not right.”
Another classmate who spoke to The Daily Beast anonymously explained that she learned of her place on the list when she was questioned by police in the school’s office:
“There was chatter at school that a kid was taken off the bus by the police but we weren’t really sure who it was. But then police started asking me questions about Connor Betts and whether there was any reason he would want to hurt me. … My best friend and I on that list. But a good amount of girls on the list were girls that didn’t want to date him. I personally never perceived our relationship as that close.”
She noted that the list was explained to her as a “kill, dismember, and rape list.”
It wasn’t only the girls who were disturbed by their strange peer.
From The Associated Press:
[A] male classmate, who was on the track team with Betts, said Betts routinely threatened violence toward other students.
“Most people avoided him,” the man said. “He would say shocking things just to get a reaction. He enjoyed making people feel scared.”
According to a cheerleader who was on Connor’s list, a cop notified her of her inclusion; additionally, he told her the boy had been suspended:
“The officer said he wouldn’t be at school for a while. But after some time passed he was back, walking the halls. They didn’t give us any warning that he was returning to school.”
To Jessica Masseth, suspension wasn’t nearly enough:
“He basically got a slap on the wrist. If he was only held accountable, this shooting would have never happened because he wouldn’t have been able to buy any firearms. There are levels of failure here.”
When he graduated, she said, it was clear he was still “not right.”
Jessica believes what happened Sunday could be seen — and prevented — from years away:
“Everyone in high school knew what he was capable of, but there was a gap in getting Connor help because people just decided they didn’t care. If people just cared a little more, none of this would have happened.”
So many times after a tragedy such as Sunday’s, news of precursors stun the public. How should things have gone differently? How could authorities have kept a close look on Connor in a way which would’ve prevented a massacre?
What could’ve been done — in the way of law enforcement, mental health, or any other — in order to have changed the course of history?
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