The ex-girlfriend of Connor Betts, who murdered nine people and injured dozens more over the weekend before being killed by police in Dayton, Ohio, says he showed an interest in mass shootings early on in their relationship.
Caitlyn “Adelia” Johnson says she met Betts this past January at their social psychology class at Sinclair Community College.
“He told me that he had bipolar disorder and possibly OCD; that didn’t scare me,” she said in a statement to WHIO-TV. “He trusted me with so much of his darkness that I forgot most of it.”
Johnson, who is polyamorous and was engaged to another man at the time, said she went to a bar with Betts in March 2019, where he encouraged her to drink a gin and tonic.
“A couple drinks later, Connor asked me if I saw the video of the synagogue shooting,” she said. “As someone who makes a point to never watch those videos, I hadn’t.”
“So, he pulled out his phone and I was too drunk to care that I was watching it. Thankfully the bar was too loud for me to hear what was going on. Connor gave me the play-by-play of what was happening,” Johnson said.
“Even then, I did realize that that was a weird thing for a first date, but not too weird given the context of our class.”
Johnson told The Toledo Blade that Betts was fascinated with mass shooting sprees in general.
“Do you know tragedies from every city?” she once texted him.
“A fair bit of them! 😀 [smiley face],” he replied. “Is that bad?”
Johnson responded: “Little bit. Lol.”
That didn’t appear to phase Betts, who called it “totally normal.”
“I’m just a fountain of joy and wonderful, not-scarring knowledge,” he wrote in a text to her.
There were other warning signs as well, like the time in May when he tracked down another ex-girlfriend’s new address with the intention of giving her a strange letter, Johnson said.
“[Johnson] can’t remember the exact wording, but said the letter was something to the effect of: ‘Welcome to the neighborhood. You can’t escape your past,'” The Blade reported.
“I asked him why he would do that, and he said it was funny,” Johnson said. “I was scared and didn’t want to blow it up and him get scary with me about it.”
Betts didn’t send the letter, but Johnson realized she needed to break up with him, which she soon did.
A former girlfriend of the Dayton shooter exclusively speaks to @gabegutierrez, saying there were red flags and that he showed her video of a mass shooting on their first date and later took her to a gun range. pic.twitter.com/JuYfHH4Rj1
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 6, 2019
Johnson believes Betts was the product of a broken mental health system.
“He knew he was the product of a failed system. A system that stigmatized mental health and recovery,” her statement read. “A system that makes the mentally ill feel broken and unworthy of help.”
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