Montgomery County, Ohio, 'Still Trying To Come To Grips With' Mass Shooting
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Thirty seconds - that was all the time it took for police to take down a gunman in Dayton, Ohio. And they are being praised for that swift action, as they should be. But it's also important to note that in those same 30 seconds, that same gunman was able to kill nine people - nine lives taken in half a minute. Just 13 hours before, a similar scene unfolded in El Paso, Texas, Saturday when another white man opened fire on a shopping center, killing 20. Both communities are grieving.
We'll have more coverage from El Paso this hour. But right now, we're going to focus on Dayton. And we're joined by Montgomery County commissioner Judy Dodge. Thank you so much for being with us this morning, and our condolences.
JUDY DODGE: Thank you. Thank you for having me on.
MARTIN: I understand that you spoke at the vigil that was held last night to honor the victims of the massacre in Dayton.
MARTIN: Can you describe what that was like, share a moment or a scene that stood out to you from that?
DODGE: Yeah, it was overwhelming. And I'll tell you I'll never, ever forget it. When I got up on that stage and looked, as far as I could see in all directions were people. And people were crying, hugging each other. It was extremely emotional. And I think that the mayor, Mayor Nan Whaley, put it together very well. And she had different speakers, and everyone basically just talked about the fact that we're grieving today. We've had a very difficult several months here in our area because we had a tornado that touched down Memorial Day, and we're still recovering from that.
And then, you know, on a beautiful Saturday evening, a lot of young people were downtown enjoying themselves in what's called our Oregon District, which is an - sort of a neighborhood with a lot of old bands that play and restaurants. And it's open, and it's just a lovely area. And everybody was having a good time, and then this tragedy happened. And I think we're still trying to come to grips with it. Nine lives were lost, and the shooter was also killed. And I don't know if you saw that he evidently killed his sister.
DODGE: So I can't imagine what that family's going through. But it...
MARTIN: Yeah, she was one of the victims. Yeah.
DODGE: Our hearts are just breaking for everybody.
MARTIN: What can you tell us about the district where this attack happened? I mean, police were able to respond very quickly.
DODGE: Yes. There is always a police group that is there, Dayton police. And usually in the evenings, especially on a Saturday night, you know, sometimes the students come down from the University of Dayton. And, you know, they're always having a good time. And perhaps, you know, when it's early morning hours, they may be asked to perhaps go home. (Laughter) It gets to be too late. And so there are usually a very - you know, it isn't a huge presence, but there are usually four or five Dayton police officers that sort of walk around just to make sure that, you know, everything's going OK.
And I'll tell you that these gentlemen are our heroes today because they didn't even call in immediately. They just ran to where the noise was. And they were able to take down the shooter before he was getting ready to go into a bar, and we know that there would have been massive killings then.
MARTIN: Right, prevented all kinds of carnage - we can imagine they were able to prevent that. Yet, it still took less than a minute for the shooter to kill nine people.
DODGE: I know. I know. I know. And it's something else where I think we're still trying to get our heads around it. I think that last night was a wonderful grieving process for our community. They had to come together and do that. And so hopefully now - the sun's out today. I'm looking. It's a nice sunny day here. So now we're going to get together and, you know, think positive thoughts here and get our community back together.
MARTIN: May I ask, President Trump is set to address the nation later this morning. What would you like to hear from him?
DODGE: I don't know if I can repeat it on (laughter) radio, but I'd like him to take some responsibility for his tweets and the way that he calls people out. And perhaps we can get back to more normalcy here. And I don't know if he's capable of doing that, but I'm going to try to listen to that this morning and see what he has to say.
MARTIN: Commissioner Judy Dodge of Montgomery County, Ohio. Dayton...
MARTIN: ...Is the county seat. This is where the massacre took place over the weekend. A shooter killed nine people there. Thank you so much for your time this morning.
DODGE: Well, thank you for having me. Thank you.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.