Survivors of Dayton Shooting: ‘People Just Started Running’

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Currents News Staff

A flurry of shots showed the brief but deadly moments during which a gunman opened fire on crowds in downtown Dayton, Ohio on Sunday, August 4.

Police say the gunman parked his car and walked through Dayton’s Oregon district, a neighborhood known for its nightlife, and started firing shots just after 1 a.m.

Witnesses say officers stopped the shooter just before he entered the packed nightclub. 

A surveillance video showed crowds running from the shots. Dayton police routinely patrol the area on Saturday nights, and were able to respond in seconds. 

“A suspect opened fire along the Oregon district, was wearing body armor, used a 223 caliber high capacity magazine. He had additional magazines,” said Dayton’s Mayor Nan Whaley.

“The threat was neutralized in approximately 30 seconds from the suspect firing his first shots,” said Chief of Dayton Police, Richard Biehl. 

Two women say they were out with girlfriends at the time of the incident.

“People just started running, they started pushing us out the back door,” said one witness. 

A second witness remembered chatting with another woman about their outfits, but the next time she saw her, “she was laying on the concrete dead outside of the club that we was at,” the witness explained. 

Robert Woodruff was standing several feet away from the gunman as he fired shots. 

“I thought I was about to die until the officer, he was standing over top of me, and he started shooting at the guy. So he saved everybody that was out here,” Robert explained. 

Despite the quick response at least nine were killed, and more than a dozen were injured. 

One of those killed was the shooter’s own 22-year-old sister. 

“The officers who were involved in ending this tragedy their professionalism, their quickness, their amazing courage, their response undoubtedly saved many, many, many lives. We will never know how many lives were saved. The assailant was obviously very, very close to being able to kill dozens and dozens more people,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

Authorities say they’ve found writings indicating the gunman had an interest in killing people. 

A preliminary assessment of the writings did not indicate any racial or political motive.