WILMINGTON,NC (WWAY) — When photos of the Dayton, Ohio gunman surfaced, many people in the Cape Fear may have noticed a familiar backdrop– historic downtown Wilmington.
It was obvious the gunman and his family had visited our area
After doing some digging, WWAY found local ties to the suspect, Connor Betts. Betts is accused of killing his sister and eight others. His aunt lives in Wilmington. No one answered the door at her home, but we did speak with another extended family member in Wilmington.
Extended family confirms he, along with his mother, father and sister, were here about three months ago. Based on his mother and father’s Facebook pages, the family visits Wrightsville Beach every year.
Moira Cofer Betts, Connor’s mother, posted a photo of her son and daughter, Megan, in downtown Wilmington on July 30,2017. She captioned it ‘This may be my favorite picture ever.’ His father, Steve Betts, also posted photos in the Cape Fear each summer dating back to 2012.
One Wrightsville Beach rental company confirms the family did rent a property there within the past three months. An extended family member, who did not want to be identified, said when Connor Betts and his family visited this summer, he was a shy 24-year-old man who barely spoke a word at the dinner table.
That family member added the shooting was not expected at all.
WWAY did attempt to contact Connor’s aunt, but we have not heard back.
The extended family member told us the immediate family is grieving heavily.
We did reach out to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office and the Wilmington Police Department to ask if Dayton Police has contacted them during their investigation. A WPD spokeswoman said no, but both agencies said if it happens that information could not be released.
Police in Dayton, Ohio say the suspect of the shooting there is a 24-year-old Connor Betts, who was shot and killed by police just 30 seconds after he began his assault. Six of the nine killed were African-American. However, officials say there isn’t enough evidence to say they were targeted because of their race.