DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A bouncer says he “would’ve died” before he let the Oregon District gunman into the bar where hundreds of people were hiding during the melee.
Jeremy Ganger, who works at Ned Peppers in Dayton’s entertainment district, recalled giving the shooter a “dead stare,” determined to block him from getting into the bar early Sunday.
“Our patrons are more important than one active shooter, so I was going to try to stand my ground the best I could,” Ganger told ABC News .
Authorities have said hundreds more people may have died had Connor Betts gotten into the bar amid his rampage, which left nine people dead dozens injured. Police fatally shot Betts within 30 seconds of when he opened fire in the popular Dayton nightlife area.
Video shows Ganger holding the front door open and waving in or pulling people inside Ned Peppers as Betts got closer. He told them to “get inside, get down!”
He says he was “grabbing them as fast as I could. As best I could.”
He could see the gunman staring at him as he advanced just before police opened fire — wearing body armor and armed with an assault-style rifle.
“He knew he wasn’t coming out,” Ganger said. “You could tell he knew what he was doing. I don’t know why, but he was there to hurt us.”
The FBI and police are probing Betts’ background and relationships to try to understand why he attacked the popular Oregon district with an assault-style gun. They have said Betts was interested in “violent ideology” and fixated on mass shootings.
Ganger got a piece of shrapnel in his leg, among 37 people who were treated for wounds or injuries from the attack. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited Wednesday with staff and patients at Miami Valley Hospital, where three people remained hospitalized in stable condition. A fourth wounded person remained in fair condition Thursday in Kettering Medical Center.
There were protests against Trump in Dayton and in El Paso, Texas, the site of a mass shooting hours before Dayton’s that claimed 22 lives.
In Dayton, people chanted “Do something!” — a phrase that’s become a rallying cry for political action on mass shootings.
Meanwhile, Ganger, the bouncer, said he has had trouble sleeping, but is heartened by all the well-wishes and seeing his coworkers. He will be back on the job when he can be.
“If I don’t go back to work, he (the gunman) wins,” he said. “He took something away from all of us if we don’t go back. He’s not gonna beat me.”
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