“It’s an interesting question,” Biehl said. “We have radically different views in that regard.”
Biehl said some of his investigators have argued “absolutely not, he was not intentional” in shooting his sister and friend. Others investigators, Biehl told reporters during a news conference, say gunman Connor Betts had to have known he was shooting the pair, who were near a taco stand.
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“Basically, the evidence has been debated in both directions,” Biehl said. “We may get a better insight through historical data looking back, but based on the evidence from that night, I don’t think we can make that call.”
The friend, Chace Beard, sent a text message seven minutes before saying they would be at the taco stand.
Biehl said the investigation strongly suggests that the sister, Megan Betts, and Beard didn’t know weapons were in the trunk of the shooter’s vehicle. The trio arrived in the Oregon District together, but Connor Betts left the other two at 12:13 a.m., about 50 minutes before he started shooting.
Biehl attempted to distinguish between mindset and motivation. The motivation for carrying out the shooting at the specific time and place is unclear, and that might never become clear, he said. But the mindset the gunman brought to the massacre is well documented.
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“There’s this history of obsession with violence, with violent ideations, the discussion of interest in mass shootings and the expression of desire to carry out a mass shooting,” Biehl said. “I think that should be enough, thematically, that you should get a pretty clear picture of what was going on here.”
Biehl said the department is relying on the FBI’s investigation into the shooter’s background to help complete the picture of what led up to the killings.
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