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‘When is enough going to be enough?’ asks Dayton mayor

Nine people were killed and 27 were wounded in a mass shooting in the downtown entertainment district of Dayton, Ohio. The police patrolling the area fatally shot the gunman within a minute of the attack.The shooting took place less than 24 hours after the killing in El Paso, Texas, of at least 20 people. Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype.

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  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Less than 24 hours after the mass killing in El Paso Texas — a gunman wearing body armor killed nine people and wounded 27 others in a Dayton, Ohio downtown entertainment district. Police patrolling in the area shot and killed the gunman within a minute of the 1:00 a.m. attack, according to Dayton Mayor, Nan Whaley. The shooter was armed with extra magazines for his 223 caliber rifle. Mayor Nan Whaley is here with us at noon eastern time via Skype from Dayton. Thanks for joining us. What more can you tell us about the investigation the status of it?

  • Nan Whaley:

    Well the investigation is under way, Hari. Thank you for having me on. You know as you mentioned Dayton police were able to stop the shooter in sight in less than a minute with 10 fatalities, one including the shooter. And so, really I just feel ourselves incredibly grateful for the heroic actions of the police department that we're able to do this and that they were at the right place at the right time considering we have a police presence in the Oregon District you know Dayton has had a tough summer frankly. You know we had these 14 tornadoes that went through our community at the end of May. And then to have this on top of it, both tragedies but one I think is completely preventable if we take some action.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right so the citizens of your town are gonna ask the same question. What can you do to make sure that it doesn't happen again?

  • Nan Whaley:

    Look I mean we've been calling on a member of every town and Mayors Against Illegal Guns for years so you know every city has been calling for some action from Congress. And we haven't seen it. There's more to be done. When Dayton is the 250th site for a mass shooting this year when's enough gonna be enough?

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    Right. You know one of the things that I've got to wonder is even though you're law enforcement officers went in there and put themselves in harm's way to try to get those people out, do they want to go up against someone that has a long gun or a semiautomatic weapon that could harm them just as fast?

  • Nan Whaley:

    I think it's very difficult. I mean we you know we had this situation and then we had unfortunately the Ku Klux Klan came to town and because of open carry we saw 75 long rifles that day. And so this amount of guns that are so ubiquitous and so public is a real issue for our public safety. It's a real challenge for us and I think by the news of how passage last night and day to day stuff can happen anytime, anywhere in any place.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    You know someone's going to watch this interview and say look she wants to take my guns away. This is the Second Amendment that's protected my right to do this. This is not the time to be talking about some sort of a constitutional change.

  • Nan Whaley:

    I'm saying that we can have some common sense gun laws on the books and really what I'd like to say back to them is I'd like the nine people who were fatally wounded and the 26 people that were shot in Oregon district so senselessly not to have their families lives changed for them to be gone and for life to be different here in Dayton, Ohio because of this senseless act of violence.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    People who don't know Dayton and don't know this district what's it like on a normal Friday or Saturday night?

  • Nan Whaley:

    Yeah it's a great area. The American Planning Association a few years ago called it the best planned street in the country. It's a brick street with lots of local businesses and restaurants and local flavor. You know it is the place that probably you know every 20 something goes with their friends either for a bachelorette party or to get together. It's a place that you know I regularly eat lunch or dinner at. It is a center point for our community. And I've been completely amazed by the resiliency and grit of our community and how people have come together in such a loving way. They continue to amaze me with every tragedy that we have. And I'm so lucky and honored to get to be their mayor.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    You know I know it's just literally not even half a day has gone by about this but how do you plan for bringing this community together after something like this?

  • Nan Whaley:

    Well we're already planning a vigil tonight at 8:00 p.m. We'll have the location this afternoon. Our community has amazing grit and resiliency and we always come together through tragedy and that's what's been most amazing about our city. And I think that will happen again tonight because we know that people… This a close knit community people will know the loved ones who have passed.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    You mentioned that this is what the 250th and the 21st or 22nd major shooting this year. But do you think that this could spur some sort of bipartisan action at least in your state?

  • Nan Whaley:

    Look, we can always hope. We can always hope that out of tragedy comes movement and we'll continue to hope and fight for these families.

  • Hari Sreenivasan:

    All right. Mayor Nan Whaley joining us from Dayton, Ohio. Thanks so much.

  • Nan Whaley:

    Thank you.

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