Family of Dayton gunman apologizes for writing 'insensitive' obituary

Doug Stanglin

The family of the gunman in Dayton, Ohio, who killed nine people including his sister, have removed his glowing obituary from a local funeral home website and apologized Wednesday for being insensitive "in not acknowledging the terrible tragedy he created."

"In their grief, they presented the son that they knew which in no way reduces the horror of his last act," Stephen and Moira Betts wrote. "We are deeply sorry."

The original obituary of Connor Betts, written by the parents, described their 24-year-old son as a "funny, articulate and intelligent man with striking blue eyes and a kind smile," according to reports.

Brian Koch, owner of the funeral home, told USA TODAY that the family wrote the obituaries for both their children, and that Connor's was removed at their request.

The funeral home also issued a statement that said its goal "is always to serve the grieving families and to carry out their wishes."

Pairs of shoes are piled behind the Ned Peppers bar belonging to victims of a shooting that took place in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 04, 2019.

"We stand with our community in this time of need and are mourning along with the cities of Dayton and Bellbrook," the statement said. "We are making every effort to encourage unity to the spirit of peace."

Betts was shot to death by police after killing nine people and injuring 17 with a .223-caliber "assault-style" weapon in Dayton's Oregon District early on Aug. 4, authorities said.

Betts, who worked as a grill cook, was outfitted with body armor and extra magazines, according to officials.

It was not clear whether Betts had deliberately targeted his sister, Megan, in the 32-second shooting spree.

Before it was removed from the website of the Conner & Koch funeral home in Bellbrook, Ohio, the obituary said Connor "will be missed immensely by his friends, family and especially his good dog Teddy."

It featured a photograph of the young man sitting with his hands together and sporting a broad smile.

It made no reference to the shootings or cause of his death and did not include any apologies to the victims or the community.

Following the shooting, the family issued a statement to offer "their most heartfelt prayers and condolences to all the victims, their families and friends.

They also thanked first responders for their "quick response to minimize casualties and to all who provided aid and comfort to the victims."

The obit for Megan "Baby Chica" Betts remained on the website. It describes the 22-year-old as a "loving, intelligent, and bright young woman."

It said she had long been fascinated with rocks, geology, the earth and space and "hoped to work for NASA to be a part of exploring the viability of life on other planets."

The obituary description of Connor is strikingly at odds with how a woman Betts briefly dated remembers him.

Caitlyn “Adelia” Johnson, told The Toledo Blade that Connor took her to gun ranges and, on their first date, showed her body camera video footage from a mass shooting at a synagogue.

She also told the newspaper that Betts confided that he was bipolar and had obsessive-compulsive disorder. He also told her that he had twice held a gun in his mouth but couldn't pull the trigger.

Alarmed by his behavior, Johnson said she broke off the relationship by text message.

The obit also described a young man who enjoyed playing his Xbox and singing bass for a local college choral group.

In another sharp departure from the family's description, Betts was the lead singer of a metal band called Menstrual Munchies, according to BuzzFeed News.

In an article, BuzzFeed described the metal band as "pornogrind," a genre of music often defined by lyrics of sexual violence. The band's song titles also are extreme and explicit, sometimes referencing sexual abuse of a corpse.

The Associated Press reported that classmates said Betts was suspended at Bellbrook High School for compiling a "hit list" of those he wanted to kill and a "rape list" of girls he wanted to sexually assault.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Dayton gunman obituary: Connor Betts' obituary removed from website