Dayton mass shooter's friend arrested for buying and storing his gun equipment

Chris Riotta

A friend of the gunman who killed nine people in Dayton, Ohio during a mass shooting earlier this month has reportedly told investigators he purchased and stored some of the equipment seemingly used in the attack.

Ethan Kollie said he kept the body armour, a gun accessory and ammunition at his apartment in an effort to avoid scrutiny from the parents of Connor Betts, according to court filings. He has been charged with lying on federal firearms forms.

Betts, 24, killed nine people — including his sister — and wounded 30 others after opening fire in a street popular for nightlife.

The shooting occurred just feet away from a bar where police said hundreds of other potential victims would have been in danger had officers not shot Betts within 30 seconds.

Mr Kollie wanted to ensure his friend’s parents would not find the equipment, which included a 100-round magazine, the court documents unsealed on Monday revealed.

The Associated Press reported that the weapons were sold by an online guns dealer, which then shipped it to a store in Dayton.

There were no laws - or anything in his background - that would have prevented Betts from purchasing the AR-style weapon used in the shooting, police have previously said.

Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine has since introduced a series of gun control bills that would require background checks for most gun sales statewide. Another bill would allow the courts to step in if a person attempting to purchase a weapon is perceived to be a threat.

The Dayton shooting happened just hours after another gunman opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 people.

The back-to-back shootings reflected increasing gun violence across the country, as well as frustration among US citizens over a lack of change in nationwide gun laws in the wake of frequent mass shootings.

While the Texas gunman was a suspected white nationalist who posted an anti-immigrant screed to the online messaging forum 8chan, police have not released an official motive yet for the Ohio suspect.