A mass shooting takes place early in the morning in Dayton, Ohio on August 4, 2019. The killing of nine people and the injuries of 27 was significant in its own right, but this mass shooting was particularly notable for being America’s second in less than 24 hours. Just one day before, a shooter opened fire at a Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 and injuring 24.
The Dayton shooting, the prior shooting in El Paso, and the nation’s shock at seeing two such events in such close proximity renewed calls for gun control in the United States, but ultimately the double massacres did not bring about such changes.
The Ohio gunman had been aware of the El Paso shooting, in which a white nationalist believed to be targeting Latinos attacked a crowded Wal-Mart. The Ohio shooter had liked social media posts calling the Texas shooter a white supremacist and calling for gun control, but an investigation later revealed that he had harbored violent tendencies for years and been disciplined in high school for planning a mass shooting.
He was seen leaving a bar in the Oregon Historic District of Dayton roughly 12 hours after the El Paso shooting, but returned less than an hour later, around 1 am, and opened fire on the crowd with a modified AR-15. Police who had already been on the scene killed him within 32 seconds of his first shot. Authorities later confirmed that the police had also shot two people, and that the gunman’s sister was among the dead.
Mass shootings were nothing new in the United States. Nonetheless, the back-to-back massacres managed to shock the nation, renewing calls for gun control and momentarily bringing the nascent Democratic presidential primary race to a halt.