The family of the gunman who murdered nine people including his sister in Dayton, Ohio, withdrew an obituary that was posted for several hours Wednesday in which they described him as “funny, articulate and intelligent” and with a “kind smile.”
Funeral directors at Conner & Koch Life Celebration Home in Bellbrook posted the glowing, online obituaries of killer Connor Betts and his sister Megan “Baby Chica” Betts — who was gunned down during her brother’s Aug. 4 attack — without mentioning how they died.
“A funny, articulate and intelligent man with striking blue eyes and a kind smile, Connor Stephen Betts, age 24, of Bellbrook, passed away Sunday, August 4th, 2019,” the obit casually stated.
The posting goes on to mention that Connor Betts was a grill cook at Chipotle, an avid reader, enjoyed swimming, was a Boy Scout, was in his high school marching band, played Xbox games and loved watching the Fox animated show “Bob’s Burgers.”
“Connor will be missed immensely by his friends, family, and especially his good dog Teddy,” the obit said.
Brian Koch, the funeral home’s owner, said the obituaries were written by the siblings’ family.
“Our policy is we serve grieving families and carry out their wishes,” Koch told on Wednesday morning. “Of course, we stand with our communities at this time of need.”
Asked if he considered not running Connor Betts’ obit, or if he’s faced any community backlash, Koch repeated: “Our focus is to always serve the grieving and carry out their wishes.”
But by late Wednesday afternoon, Connor Betts’ tribute was removed and replaced by an apology from his parents.
“Stephen and Moira Betts apologize that the wording of the obituary for their son Connor was insensative in not acknowledging the terrible tragedy that he created,” according to the replacement statement.
“In their grief, they presented the son that they knew which in no way reduces the horror of his last act. We are deeply sorry.”
The sister’s tribute, which did not mention the gunman at all, was not altered.
In the paragraph mentioning her survivors and those “preceded in death,” her brother’s name was nowhere to be found.
“Megan will be missed immensely by her family, friends, and everyone who loved her,” her obituary read. “The world is a darker place without her.”
Police said Connor Betts had a fascination with mass shootings, but investigators have not been able to immediately identify a possible motive for his attack.
The gunman wore a bulletproof vest and used an AR-15-style weapon in the attack, police said.
Megan Betts, her brother and his friend arrived at the downtown area in the same vehicle but separated later, police have said. She’s believed to have been among the first people shot and killed. The friend was also shot but survived.
Officers, already working in Dayton’s popular downtown entertainment district that night, fatally shot Connor Betts just before he could enter a busy Ned Peppers Bar where dozens more could have been killed.
Earlier in the evening, Connor Betts visited Ned Peppers, where police speculate he was scouting it as a possible target.
The entire massacre, which left dozens more injured, lasted for a mere 32 seconds, according to a timeline disclosed by police Tuesday.