DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl called on more community and government action to prevent mass shootings and attacks during remarks before the U.S. Secret Service Mass Attacks Presentation on Thursday. His remarks focused on his department and the Oregon District shooting in 2019.
Biehl, speaking remotely from Dayton, gave a rundown of various research on the behaviors of mass attackers and played two videos – one showing the aftermath of the Oregon District shooting with a list of the names of the eight people killed. It included scenes of the Aug. 4, 2019 vigil after the shooting, Dave Chappelle’s Gem City Shine to raise money for victims and Kanye West’s Sunday Service at Riverscape. He then showed comments he made last year at the Ohio Statehouse where he called on the state and national government to take action on preventing the attacks.
“On Aug. 4, (the Dayton Police Department) were ready,” Biehl said in the 2019 video. “But being ready is not enough. Even with instantaneous engagement and swift, decisive courage and action, eight were still killed. It’s not enough. More is needed to be done and not by law enforcement.”
Biehl said to prevent more mass violence, agencies would have to better educate the community on what to look for in individuals who may be prone to violence. He also called on Congress and the White House to pass legislation to help prevent attacks through gun laws.
“There have been discussions with Congress about assault weapons, discussions by the president to expand background checks,” Biehl said. “I believe the Dayton community said it best at the vigil on August 4: ‘Do something.'”
The presentation was held the same day the Secret Service released its annual National Threat Assessment on Mass Attacks. The report mirrored many of the findings of speakers at the presentation, who said the public and media are often caught up in looking for motives in mass shootings and not behaviors. Biehl referred to potential mass shooters and attackers as “the invisible threat.”
He cited several studies that showed there is no checklist or algorithm that can predict if someone is a mass shooter or prone to committing mass violence. He said there are a collection of behaviors that mass attackers have shown that involve multiple behaviors. He cited studies and articles in law enforcement and psychology publications that showed if the public is taught to identify certain stressors in individuals, he believes they could help prevent attacks.
Biehl said Oregon District shooter Connor Betts showed several stressors and behavior patterns that should have been red flags, including discord with his family, issues with abuse toward girlfriends and statements he made prior to the shooting.
“As a society, we must do better,” Biehl said. “Refocus on major risk factors, identify red flag behaviors and reduce the likelihood would-be killers could get a weapon.”
To read more on the the U.S. Secret Service report on mass shootings, visit WDTN.com.