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After massacre, Dayton residents demand political action on guns

Less than 24 hours after a shooting massacre in El Paso, another nine people were gunned down in a busy nightlife area of Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning. Police quickly killed the alleged gunman. Judy Woodruff talks to Yamiche Alcindor, reporting from Dayton on how stunned residents are coping with the tragedy, what they think is causing the violence and the political change they want to see.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, less than 24 hours after the carnage in El Paso, another tragedy.

    Our Yamiche Alcindor reports from Dayton, Ohio.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Thirty seconds, nine shot dead, and a community reeling from yet another mass shooting.

    This time, the violence unfolded early Sunday in a busy nightlife district here in Dayton, Ohio. Police fatally shot the 24-year-old gunman soon after he opened fire with an automatic weapon. He was just steps away from entering a popular bar, Ned Peppers, in the city's Oregon District.

    Anthony Reynolds had just left the bar when the shooting began.

  • Anthony Reynolds:

    I know it's gunfire, so I'm looking around. And I'm like, OK, what's going on? But then what you right after it's just repeated, like, shots, high-powered shots, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

    So we just start really running. I'm grabbing my cousin. We're running. And I just started yelling at the people in front of me, like, that's a mass shooter.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    At one point, he was just 10 feet away from the shooter.

    The shooter's own sister is among the dead. The motive is still unclear.

    Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said the quick response by the Dayton police prevented scores more from dying.

  • Nan Whaley:

    I'm completely grateful for the Dayton Police Department. Six police officers, five of whom have only been on this force for three years, ran toward the shooter heroically, not with the kind of weapon he had, but with the weapons that we have given to them to stop — stop this, and they did that in 24 seconds.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The shooter wore full body armor and carried a .223-caliber rifle with magazines holding nearly 250 rounds of ammunition.

    Hours later, police tape outlined the epicenter of the massacre. Yellow cones marked the 41 shell casings found in the area. A pile of mismatched shoes scattered the sidewalk, evidence of the rush to escape the scene.

    Also in the aftermath, shock, sadness and calls for action.

  • Pam Brooks:

    You don't expect that to hit you at home. But, unfortunately, it's become the reality of our world.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Pam Brooks lives in a high-rise building in the Oregon District. From her window, she witnessed the chaos. She now feels moved to personally push for change.

  • Pam Brooks:

    I have seen people tell you to get in touch with your congressman and that kind of thing, and I have never reached out to anyone representing me.

    But that has changed already. I sent off some e-mails and text messages this morning voicing my concerns and asking them to get back to their jobs and get some legislation in place so that other people don't have to go through this.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Sunday night, the community held a vigil near the scene of the shooting.

    Some, like Teresa Smith, were still in shock.

  • Teresa Smith:

    I know love is greater, but there is so much bad and evil and divide. And it doesn't have to be that way. All of these people are innocent people who just want to live and enjoy life. And it's like it's been cut down.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Susie Lane heads the Dayton chapter of the pro-gun control group Moms Demand Action. She hopes the mass shootings will spur both Congress and Ohio legislators to act.

    Susie Lane, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America: Right now, in Congress, there is a universal background check law that the House has passed, and the Senate has not taken it up yet. That's a first step. We also need that cultural change, where we understand that guns aren't the answers to our problems.

  • Mike Dewine:

    I'm representing all the people of the state of Ohio.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Meanwhile, earlier at the vigil:

  • Man:

    Do something!

  • Mike Dewine:

    We're here tonight…

  • Woman:

    Do something!

  • Man:

    Do something!

  • Man:

    Do something!

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The group shouted over Republican Governor Mike DeWine. They demanded he pursue gun control legislation immediately.

    After the vigil, DeWine told a Columbus Dispatch reporter that he is open to discussing gun control policies, like expanded background checks.

    That willingness to enact some reforms was shared by other Ohio Republicans. GOP Senator Rob Portman Sunday:

  • Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio:

    There aren't enough laws, and, in fact, no law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face today as a country.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Reynolds, who witnessed the shooting, said he is hoping President Trump will himself seek change.

  • Anthony Reynolds:

    Well, he has to change his tone from the top, because you're in a seat that is powerful. You're in a seat that means everything. It represents this country. So if you're not holding it up for everybody, then that's a problem.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    He added that all of the country's lawmakers must act to prevent these massacres.

  • Anthony Reynolds:

    After these cameras cut off, we still got — we are still forced to sit here and work with each other and figure it out, because these camera's ain't going to be here forever and the light ain't going to be on Dayton forever, because with the rules that we got in place, this is going to happen somewhere else real soon.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Everyone I have talked to here in Dayton is just shocked this took place in their hometown. Many fear that, just around the corner, another mass shooting could unfold in another city — Judy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    So, Yamiche, we heard Anthony Reynolds tell you he's concerned with President Trump's rhetoric.

    How much of that sort of frustration are you hearing from people on the ground there?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Over and over again, I have been hearing from people that the president's rhetoric, as well as his inaction on gun reform, is part of the problem and part of the reason why they feel like these mass shootings continue to happen.

    People here in Dayton are juggling a lot. This is a city that has a booming and rising immigrant population — immigrant population. There's also largely white suburbs that are opposed to a lot of the city's pro-immigrant policies here.

    And then you have the city really dealing with a number of things that have really, really hurt the city here. You have the city dealing with a KKK rally that stirred up a lot of emotions. You also have the city dealing with a string of tornadoes that hit it and caused a lot of damage in May, and then now you have this mass shooting.

    So there are people that are looking to the president to change his tone and really help with the healing in a city that's just dealing with so much.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, Yamiche, you know about the challenges in that community. You were there just last week reporting on — talking on it — talking to voters.

    How much hope do you pick up from people that maybe these two terrible shootings could lead to some change?

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    People here definitely want to see change, but they don't feel as though there's going to be a lot of change.

    And that's mainly because people have been telling me, after Newtown and after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, people thought there was going to be this big momentum and that Washington was going to pass all sorts of gun laws, and that just didn't happen.

    So now they're hopeful that lawmakers will at least hear their voices. But they're not sure whether or not they will actually be able to really make real change.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Yamiche Alcindor, reporting for us tonight from Dayton, Ohio, thank you, Yamiche.

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