Dayton shooter’s friend allegedly bought body armor used in attack

A longtime friend of Dayton shooter Connor Betts allegedly bought the body armor, 100-round magazine and a firearm accessory used in the deadly attack that killed nine people, officials said Monday.

Ethan Kollie, 24, of the Dayton suburb of Kettering, was charged with a separate offense — falsely denying that he was a drug user when buying a handgun for himself in May.

But that weapon played no role in the mass shooting, investigators said. And authorities also emphasized that Kollie appeared to play no part in the planning of Betts’ mass shooting in the early morning of Aug. 4.

“To be clear, there is no evidence and allegation in this criminal complaint that Kollie intentionally participated in the planning of Betts’ Aug. 4 shooting,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio said. “I don’t want that to be misconstrued.”

Court documents said Kollie bought the equipment and kept them in his apartment “to assist Betts in hiding them from Betts’ parents.”

“I can say that the purchases that are at issue here were some of the equipment that was used on Aug. 4,” Glassman said.

Todd Wickerham, the FBI’s special agent in charge of its Cincinnati office, said he doesn’t know what Kollie believed Betts was going to do with all his high-powered firearm accessories.

“I can’t speak to exactly what he thought he was going to use the firearm for,” Wickerham said. “But we have not found any indication that he knew (Betts) was going to conduct this attack.”

Ten weeks ago, documents said, Betts and Kollie assembled the rifle in the latter’s apartment. Six to eight weeks ago, Betts returned to retrieve the rifle and to pick up the body armor and the 100-round magazine, prosecutors said.

Responding Dayton police killed Betts, 24, just outside the doors of Ned Peppers Bar, where the killer could have shot dozens more people inside, authorities have said.

Betts’ victims include his 22-year-old sister Megan Betts. The others were Lois Oglesby, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38; Derrick Fudge, 57; Logan Turner, 30; Nicholas Cumer, 25; Thomas McNichols, 25; Beatrice Warren-Curtis, 36; and Monica Brickhouse, 39.

Betts’ motive was not immediately clear to police.

Kollie faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

Kollie told FBI agents that he did “‘hard drugs’ with Betts, as well as marijuana and acid, four or five times a week from 2014 to 2015,” Glassman said.

Kollie said he smokes marijuana daily, had done so for 10 years, the federal prosecutor added.

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