Friend of Oregon District shooter: ‘We betrayed him’

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Oregon District Memorials by Phil Wiedenheft

BELLBROOK, Ohio (WDTN) – Kim Sesler last saw Connor Betts on Friday at work. Betts came into a gas station in Bellbrook to fill his car and chat with his friends and former co-workers.

On Sunday, Sesler arrived at work in the afternoon. Phones were ringing and reporters across the country were calling and asking about Betts, who shot and killed nine people in the Oregon District and injured 20 that morning. One of his victims was his sister Megan.

The phones continued to ring, but Sesler and the staff had nothing to say, no comment to make. Their friend – who was quiet, funny, family-oriented and known for going out and helping old ladies pump their gas – was dead. He also committed one of the worst crimes in Dayton history – murdered nine people.

“We are all still in shock,” Sesler said. “When we watch the video, and the shooter’s face is going to the ground, that’s our friend’s face that’s falling to the ground. It was our friend who just did all of this stuff and we never would have suspected.”

The more Sesler heard about Betts – the Betts she never knew – she said the more it bugged her as a parent. The more she wanted to speak out.

“I think we betrayed him,” Sesler said. “There’s obviously times he cried out or was asking for help without actually asking. That there were signs, that people reported him for what he said or his actions, and nothing was done about it.

“I think we need to pay more attention to how we treat others around us. We need to come together more as a community outside of times of crisis.”

She said people needed to treat mental illness more seriously.

“(We) definitely need stricter rules or new methods, something that’s available whether you have health insurance or not, or you can afford it or not. People’s lives should be put ahead of price.”

The Connor Betts she knew

As a co-worker and friend, Sesler said Betts was quiet but warmed up to people who were friendly and was smart and had a good sense of humor.

“Maybe he had some depression, but that’s very common these days,” Sesler said. “But he’d come in, we looked forward to seeing him. Everything we heard about him, we never in our wildest dreams thought he would be like that.”

Betts loved music and would talk about his family life. She said he would mention his parents and sister getting together for dinner.

He had many interests but continued to hang out with his friends at the gas station until last year, when he changed jobs.

“He was a great friend,” Sesler said. “He was sweet, he was thoughtful, we are all shocked.”

These stark factors are why she decided to speak to 2 NEWS. Why she wanted to stress mental health and hope these tragedies stop.

“People are going through things you don’t know they’re going through,” Sesler said. “People won’t talk about it with each other because they don’t want to be looked down on for having negative thoughts or feelings. It doesn’t make you good or bad to have those feelings, but you need help.

“I think all of us that were there (Friday) wish we had more time to talk to him.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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