After a shooting in Dayton, Ohio left nine people dead and 27 others injured, the Dayton Collaboratory held an informal town hall meeting. Several community members gathered to discuss healing and moving forward after the traumatic event rocked their city.
Connor Lynch, 21
Did you have a personal connection to where the shooting took place?
“I did have a personal connection, not only to where the shooting took place but also where the shooter grew up. I am from Centerville, Ohio, and the shooter grew up in [nearby in] Bellbrook. I have mutual friends that grew up and attended school with the shooter. As far as where the shooting took place, I am a student at the University of Dayton, which is just a couple miles from the Oregon District. The route the shooter took is the route most of us UD students take to get to the Oregon District.”
Jade Marshall, 19
How has this shooting affected your feelings of safety in Dayton?
“I am fearful of not only Dayton, but America in general. The shooting really hits home to me. I am from here. I frequent the location of the shooting often to dance and unwind after work and the school week. My mom is keeping very close tabs on me and I am okay with that. Parents shouldn’t have to … keep track [of] their children’s whereabouts just to make sure they are safe, especially their adult children.”
Dr. Karen Korn, 48
How has the Dayton shooting affected you personally?
“It has caused me a lot of reflection and anxiety. The shooter is a similar age to my children and his school competed against my children’s school. It makes you think, it could have been my child, because it hits very close to home.”
Jo’el Thomas-Jones, 52
What do you want now from elected officials?
“It’s easy to say, ‘I want gun control,’ but I think that it goes beyond gun control and getting rid of the NRA. It is so much bigger than that. We have to … ask ourselves, ‘What are we truly about in America?’”
Peter Benkendorf, 57
How will Dayton bounce back?
“The bounce back is an ongoing process. The work we at the Collaboratory are doing to aid in the bounce-back process started with the airing of the Frontline episode last September that painted a very stark picture of the challenges that the citizens of this community face, in terms of how we see our well-being in the future of the community. I think this shooting raises a much larger question, in terms of our well-being, mental health and how we think about an overall attitude towards violence.”
These quotes were lightly edited for clarity and length.