Leaders of the Dayton Unit NAACP met with reporters on Sunday to discuss the mass shooting in the Oregon District. STAFF

Dayton NAACP monitoring shooting probe, seeking gun law changes

The shooting suspect has been identified as Connor Betts, 24, of Bellbrook.

MORE: Dayton Shooting: Suspect ID’d, reportedly had prior hit-list

Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP, met with members of the media at NAACP’s headquarters on Third Street on Sunday afternoon to discuss how the civil rights organization is dealing with the mass shooting.

“We have an issue in America, and we need to ensure we deal with that at face value,” Foward said. “We as an organization at this point and time are not saying that we have come to an conclusion that this is an absolute hate crime, but it has all of the indicators that it could be.”

He added, “We are deeply saddened to learn that the shooter was allegedly Caucasian and many of the victims were African-American. We will be monitoring this case very closely to determine if this incident was a hate crime.”

MORE: Dayton Mayor Whaley says Dayton will ‘rise’ after tragedies

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said officers have no indication at this time that the shooting was racially motivated.

Foward praised Dayton police officers for their quick response.

“We commend the Dayton Police Department and other first responders for taking quick and decisive action to engage the shooter,” he said. “Let’s love one another and continue to be Dayton Strong.”

Foward said it is imperative that government officials at the local, state and national level become involved in finding a solution to gun violence.

“This is another sad day in our nation when we see once again assault weapons being used on everyday citizens,” Foward said. “Congress needs to act and act now to swiftly pass sensible gun legislation that will ban these assault weapons. Whether or not this individual was mentally ill or if this was a hate crime, the assault weapon shouldn’t be in the hands of an average citizen.”

The NAACP is hoping that politicians will promote sensible gun laws that the organization feels will help curb gun violence, he said.

MORE: Community reacts with worry, spirituality, efforts to help

Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.