By John Seewer and Michael Balsamo, Associated Press
A longtime friend of the Dayton gunman bought the body armor, a 100-round magazine, and a gun accessory used to kill nine people, but there’s no indication that the man knew that his friend was planning a mass shooting, federal agents said Monday.
Ethan Kollie told investigators just hours after the shooting that he bought the equipment and kept it at his apartment so Betts’ parents would not find it, according to a court document.
Federal investigators emphasized that there was no evidence that Kollie knew how Connor Betts would use the equipment or that Kollie intentionally took part in the planning.
The accusations came as prosecutors unsealed charges against Kollie that they said were unrelated to the Aug. 4 shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Betts opened fire in a popular entertainment district, killing his sister and eight others. Officers killed Betts within 30 seconds, just outside a crowded bar, and authorities have said hundreds more people may have died if Betts had gotten inside.
Prosecutors accused Kollie of lying about not using marijuana on federal firearms forms in the purchase of a pistol that was not used in the shooting.
Possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of a controlled substance is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Making a false statement regarding firearms carries a potential maximum sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment.
A message seeking comment was left at a phone number for Kollie and with his attorney.
Police have said there was nothing in Betts’ background that would have prevented him from buying the AR-15 style gun used in the shooting.
The weapon was bought online from a dealer in Texas and shipped to another firearms dealer in the Dayton area, police said on the day of the shooting.
Betts and Kollie apparently had been friends for several years.
Kollie told agents that they had smoked marijuana and used acid several times a week beginning in 2014 through 2015, said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman.
Betts was with Kollie in 2016 when Betts was charged with driving under the influence, according to a police report from Bellbrook where the gunman lived with his parents.
Investigators have not released a motive for the shooting.
Eight of the victims who died were shot multiple times, according to the Montgomery County coroner’s office. More than 30 others were left injured, including at least 14 with gunshot wounds, hospital officials and investigators said.
Just days after the shooting, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced a package of gun control measures , including requiring background checks for nearly all gun sales in Ohio and allowing courts to restrict firearms access for people perceived as threats.
Two state lawmakers on Monday reintroduced legislation that would restrict access to guns.
One bill would require background checks while the second raises the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21.
Seewer reported from Toledo, Ohio, and Balsamo reported from Washington, D.C. Associated Press writers Andrew Welsh-Huggins and Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus contributed to this report.
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