“Generally there was no issue,” he said. “He kind of kept it together.”
Betts also worked at a gas station where Howell would sometimes stop in to grab a drink.
“He was normal there, too,” he said. “He kept on a professional face.”
He and his friends frequent the Oregon District where, authorities say, Betts opened fire overnight and left nine dead. Police officers in the area fatally shot Betts within a minute. After getting off work on Saturday night, Howell had decided against heading to Oregon. Hours later, he heard the news.
“I think this is less of a hate crime and more of an ‘I hate everybody’ crime,” Howell said. “I honestly feel more comfortable now knowing that he’s gone.”
» Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Jennifer Brett is in Dayton, Ohio, to help our newspaper colleagues with coverage there. Return to AJC.com for more of her updates.
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