Dayton Shooting Victim was Transgender Man

Makeshift memorial outside of Ned Peppers in Dayton, Ohio Aug. 5, 2019. (Tribune News Service | Ceili Doyle/Dispatch)

Editor’s Note: This article is formed off a Splinter News investigation where the source was an anonymous friend of a victim of the shooting. It can not be 100% verified, but has been featured in several news articles with no debunking as of this writing.

Megan Betts, the 22-year-old sister of the Oregon District shooter Conor Betts, was one of the nine people killed in the August 4 shooting.

In an investigation done by Splinter News, it was revealed that Betts is a transgender man who kept his identity very close to the vest and was only outed to those very close to him. As of this writing, it appears that his gender identity was not a motivating factor in his death, as his family was not aware of his status.

He went by Jordan Cofer, and a search for the name on social media will reveal this. His Tumblr account identifies him as a “…ace poly trans boy with a loving heart and way too much work to do.”

“Jordan was my closest friend,” said an anonymous friend of Cofer to Splinter. “He identified with he/him pronouns to people he trusted and knew would support him. Jordan was probably one of the sweetest people you would ever meet, a true saint, but he was also very scared constantly. He tried to give the best to everyone.”

Nine hearts to represent nine victims. (Wikimedia Commons | Becker1999)

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This information did not come out in the early reporting of the tragedy, and thus most mainstream outlets misgendered him with high school prom photos taken from his mother’s Facebook page.

Cofer was a rising senior at Wright State University, studying earth and environmental science, as well as singing in the school chorus. 

He recently worked as an intern for the U.S. Forest Service in Montana as a tour guide at the Missoula Smokejumper Center, teaching visitors about fighting fires in remote places in the Montana countryside.

Cofer’s death is now the 14th instance of violence taking the life of a transgender person in 2019.

Amelia O’Dowd lives two blocks from where Sunday morning’s shooting occurred in Dayton. She fears Gov. Mike DeWine’s gun-control plans will not survive legislative review. “If Sandy Hook wasn’t enough for us, nothing is going to be enough,” she said. (Tribune News Service | Ceili Doyle/Dispatch)

Gillian Branstetter, media relations manager for the National Center for Transgender Equality, said it was important for journalists and police to speak to murder victims’ friends and family members so the deceased are identified properly and not misgendered or deadnamed.

“We are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Jordan as well as eight others in this tragic and violent act,” Branstetter wrote in a statement. “Mass gun violence is an epidemic in this country and deserving of swift and immediate action by lawmakers at all levels of government. We join the nation in mourning for every community impacted by gun violence.”

Henry Wolski
Associate Editor

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