The Dayton, Ohio, mass shooter had his friend buy him body armor, a gun accessory and a 100-round magazine allegedly used in the massacre earlier this month. Prosecutors say the friend stored the items in his apartment in order to hide them from the shooter’s parents, according to federal charges unsealed on Monday.
Federal officials say Ethan Kollie, 24, of Kettering, Ohio, is a longtime friend of gunman Connor Betts, but authorities are not alleging that Kollie helped plan the mass shooting in which nine people were killed and dozens of others injured.
Instead, federal officials say Kollie made false statements on federal forms in purchasing and possessing weapons, each count related to allegations that Kollie lied about his drug use on federal firearm documents.
Benjamin Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, stressed that federal officials do not consider Kollie a conspirator in the mass shooting, but any crimes identified over the course of the investigation, whether directly related or not, will be pursued.
“Anyone who is discovered to have any criminal culpability for any act that ultimately is discovered through the investigation or contributed in any way to the events of August 4 in any way is going to be held criminally responsible,” Glassman said at a news conference in Dayton on Monday.
Kollie allegedly told federal agents that he regularly used marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms, which he grew at his apartment, and he routinely took “micro-doses” of mushrooms because it provided him with energy and it was “fun.”
Federal officials said Kollie told authorities that in addition to smoking marijuana regularly, he used “hard drugs,” including acid, sometimes with Betts, authorities say.
Kollie is accused of lying on a federal form when he purchased a pistol for himself in May that required him to answer whether he is a user of any drugs illegal under federal law. Kollie answered “no,” and officials say that was a federal crime.
When FBI officials conducted a search warrant at his apartment, authorities say Kollie admitted that he bought body armor, an upper receiver for an AR-15 weapon and a 100-round double drum magazine, all of which, prosecutors say, were used to slaughter in the slaughter in Dayton’s Oregon District, a vibrant strip that features bars and clubs that get especially packed on weekends.
Just after 1 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, Connor Betts approached a packed crowd in front of Ned Peppers bar and unloaded about 40 rounds in just 32 seconds. As Betts approached the door of the bar, where droves of people were seeking shelter, police shot and killed Betts.
Federal officials also said on Monday that authorities have unlocked a cellphone belonging to Betts. What prosecutors find on the phone will be part of the ongoing investigation.
“It was opened late last week,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Todd Wickerham. “And we’re reviewing the contents now.”