Dayton Strong: A City in Mourning Comes Together, Flooding the Streets the Day After Mass Shooting

Though it already goes without saying at this point, in the early hours of this past Sunday, nine people were killed, another 27 were injured. In under 60 seconds the gunman struck a total of 35 people on 5th Street in Dayton’s Oregon District.

The nine victims of the shooting early Sunday morning. (Source: NBC4 WCMH-TV Columbus/YouTube)

“We grew up as cousins,” said Derasha Merrett, who was up feeding her newborn at 3 a.m. Sunday morning when she received a phone call. “We grew up in the same church, on the same drill team. She works at my kids’ daycare. We all grew up in this little town. We’re all family. We’re all hurting behind this.”

That phone call was from a friend, who delivered through sobs the news that 27-year-old Lois Oglesby, mother to two young children, who had just returned to work after maternity leave, had been shot and killed.

“She was a wonderful mother, a wonderful person,” Merrett said. “I have cried so much, I can’t cry anymore.”

Megan Betts was a 22-year-old Wright State University student, who had spent the past four months in Missoula, Montana, at the Missoula Smokejumper Visitor Center, where visitors learned about fighting fires in remote places in the Montana countryside.

Megan was an environmental science major and planned to graduate in 2020. She was just 22 years old.

Megan was the shooter’s sister, and the two of them came to the Oregon District together, with another unnamed friend. It’s unclear at this time what happened but it is believed that at some point her brother split from her before the shooting began.

Nicholas Cumer was a Pennsylvania graduate who was in town for an internship. He was a graduate student in the Master of Cancer Care program.

“Nicholas was dedicated to caring for others. He was recognized at the 2019 Community Engagement Awards among students who had completed 100+ hours of service. In addition, he was a graduate assistant with the university marching band,” said Saint Francis University President Fr. Malachi Van Tassell.

Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, a non-profit that is “committed to improving the quality of life for individuals battling cancer through exercise, nutrition, and faith,” had just named Cumer to a full-time position to run one of its offices.

(Source: NBC4 WCMH-TV Columbus/YouTube)

Logan Turner was a 30-year-old machinist who lived in Springboro, Ohio. He was a 2008 Springboro graduate and former fellow Sinclair Community College student. He earned an engineering degree from the University of Toledo and attended Wright State University for a time, according to WSU spokesman, Seth Bauguess.

He was “smart and sweet,” said his mother Danita Turner.

“He was very generous and loving and the world’s best son,” she said. “Everyone loved Logan. He was a happy go lucky guy.”

Thomas McNichols, the 25-year-old father of four, was known as “TJ” and was described as being a “gentle giant.”

“He was so tall and a lot of folks thought he was older than he really was,” said Donna Johnson, his aunt whom he lived with in her Westwood neighborhood home.

McNichols and his aunt sat eating Twizzlers before he headed out that night to the Oregon District.

“Everybody loved him. He was like a big kid,” Johnson said. “When all of the movies come out – Batman, Black Panther – he would get all his nephews and take them to the movies.”

McNichols had graduated from Dunbar High School. His children, two girls and two boys, range in age from two to eight, according to Johnson.

Photo Credit: Elliana Miller-Young

Derrick Fudge, 57, was described by his sister, Twyla Southall, as a “good man who loved his family.”

According to Southall, her brother was downtown with his son, Dion, and other family members when the shooting took place.

Southall, who lives in Columbus, was called early Sunday morning about the incident.

“His son is very distraught,” she told reporters.

“They were all just down there enjoying themselves and had stepped out of, I think, one of the clubs and were in a line to get some food,” she added.

Monica Brickhouse, 39, was a Springfield, Ohio resident who was described as “like another aunt,” by a friend, Brittany Hart, who wrote about her on Facebook.

Brickhouse was a native of Springfield, though she had recently moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, according to her Facebook profile.

“To lose a loved one to senseless violence is just unfair, especially since it could be preventable!!” wrote Hart in her Facebook post. “I am so sorry this has happened to you all!”

Photo Credit: Elliana Miller-Young

Saheed Saleh was an Eritrea native, a country on the African continent bordering Sudan,  the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

Yahya Khamis, president of the Dayton Sudanese community spoke for him on his family’s behalf. He said that he was a kind-hearted and hardworking person.

“We are here as a family, no matter who we are, as the city of Dayton is a welcoming city, so we are trying to come over with it,” said Khamis in a report delivered by the Dayton Daily News yesterday.

Beatrice “Nicole” Warren-Curtis was a recent Dayton, Ohio resident, who had just moved here from Virginia. She was 36 years old and was friends with Brickhouse; the Facebook post regarding Brickhouse mentioned her as well.

She had a young daughter.

A vigil was held last night on Fifth Street, the same street the attack took place on. The crowd stretched down the street amidst speeches from members of the community and of politicians throughout the state.

The crowd left after singing “Stand By Me.” Flowers were placed in bullet holes in bar windows, the crowd was full of protests and hugs. Candles rested in front of the doors to Ned Peppers and The Hole in the Wall.

Mourners gathered as the purple glow of sunset drifted towards night, the glow of the Oregon District’s lights shining down on mourners as the candles lit their faces.

Pictures have surfaced of the event, but the entire street was filled to the brim with mourners, an entire community coming together for support.

It was a community who has had a hard year trying to find something in each other, trying desperately to reconcile the events of the past 24 hours. It was hard to watch but also in other ways cathartic.

Richard Foltz
Managing Editor

Sunday night’s full vigil. (Source: NBS News/YouTube)

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