Nine people were killed in Dayton, Ohio, when a gunman opened fire early Aug. 4 at a bar. Here are the stories of the victims.
Megan K. Betts:
Megan K. Betts was a stellar student, popular with peers and beloved by members of the Bellbrook High School marching band who thought of her as a big sister, said friends and work acquaintances.
Betts, 22, was the sister of the man authorities identified as the Dayton shooter, Connor Betts. The violence cut short a life that held promise, said Elizabeth Greenawalt, whose children attended Bellbrook High with Megan Betts.
“She was extremely bright, well-liked, she did extremely well in school and she had lots of friends,” Greenawalt said.
Zoe DeAtley, who overlapped with Betts at Bellbrook High, said through tears that she cannot believe she has lost the mentor she looked up to throughout high school. DeAtley performed in the band alongside Betts, who played the trumpet and who acted in school plays.
Betts was known among band members for her willingness to help anyone with absolutely anything — it “didn’t matter if you were a freshman or a senior,” DeAtley said. And they knew to go straight to Betts if they were in trouble or feeling down.
“She never let anyone feel left out,” DeAtley said.
In her free time, Betts listened to bands such as Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco, DeAtley said.
DeAtley said Betts loved science and seemed to have a knack for mathematics.
Betts spent the past couple of months as a tour guide helping visitors explore the wilds of Montana, said Daniel Cottrell, her former supervisor at the Missoula Smokejumper Visitor Center.
Cottrell said Betts was a “very positive person.” She earned a reputation for competence and was well liked by her peers, Cottrell said. She also loved exploring new places, he said, especially Montana and its culture.
“We really enjoyed the time that she spent working here for us. She was full of life and really passionate,” Cottrell said. “She was a very caring individual.”
When Betts left the job in Montana, Cottrell said, her mother drove to pick her up.
“I’m just sad,” Cottrell said of the Dayton shooting. “I am just frustrated these things keep happening in this country.”
As DeAtley mourns, she said, she finds comfort in a picture Betts drew of “the two of us with a bunch of our friends.” It was a Christmas present. “I cried when she gave it to me, and now it means so much more,” DeAtley said.
Monica E. Brickhouse:
Monica E. Brickhouse, 39, grew up in Springfield, Ohio, but moved to Virginia decades ago, said a childhood friend, Farren Wilmer.
Brickhouse’s family still lives in Springfield, and Wilmer said she was probably visiting family in recent days. When Wilmer saw her old friend’s name listed among the Dayton shooting victims, she messaged her multiple times. Soon after, one of Brickhouse’s cousins confirmed to Wilmer that she had died.
As children growing up in the Parkwood Avenue neighborhood in Springfield, she and Brickhouse were “joined at the hip,” Wilmer said. In recent years, they talked frequently over Facebook, exchanging notes and pictures of their children. Brickhouse, Wilmer said, was a mother of one and ran her own business.
“She was always funny and smart and beautiful,” Wilmer said. “You know how kids always say, ‘I’m going to do this’ or ‘I’m going to do that’? Monica grew up and actually did what she said she was going to do. That’s the sort of person she was.”
Nicholas P. Cumer:
Nicholas P. Cumer, 25, was a graduate student in the master’s of cancer care program at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. He was in Dayton interning as a trainer for the Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, a treatment center, according to a statement from the organization on Facebook.
On the night of the shooting, Cumer had been out celebrating the end of the summer with three fellow interns. They were standing in line at the Ned Peppers bar when the shooter opened fire, injuring two of them and killing Cumer, said Tyler Erwin, 27, who escaped unhurt.
“Nick was an extraordinary human being. He was intelligent, he was extremely caring and kind. He loved his patients, and he always went above and beyond for them,” Erwin said. Cumer had spent the summer in Columbus and commuted an hour each morning to the alliance’s treatment center. He had never been to downtown Dayton, so on Aug. 3 night, after attending a colleague’s housewarming party nearby, the group of interns decided to bring him to the Oregon District, said Erwin, a Dayton native.
“We were going to show him one good, fun night out,” Erwin said. “That was the plan.”
Cumer was a week away from completing his internship, said Karen Wonders, director of the alliance. Last week, Wonders had offered Cumer a full-time job to run two of the organization’s new offices. She thinks he had planned to accept the offer.
“When we were thinking of these new centers, he was No. 1 on our list,” Wonders said. While Cumer had started only in May, Wonders said, he had developed a close relationship to many of the center’s cancer patients. He often went out of his way to assist them, Wonders said.
When he was not working, Cumer liked going to the gym, his colleagues said.
“He was a wonderful person, a wonderful person,” his mother, Vicky Cumer, said in a tearful phone interview. “He was smart and handsome. And everybody loved him.”
Cumer dedicated his life to caring for others, the Rev. Malachi Van Tassell, president of Saint Francis University, wrote in a statement. This year, Cumer was recognized by the school for completing more than 100 hours of community service. He was also a graduate assistant with the university’s marching band.
Derrick R. Fudge:
On Aug. 3 evening, Derrick R. Fudge went out to have a good time with his son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law.
Fudge, 57, of Springfield, Ohio, was in Dayton for a family reunion, his older sister, Sherrie Fudge-Galloway, told The Washington Post. He was among those shot and killed outside a bar.
“They were all just down there enjoying themselves and had stepped out of, I think, one of the clubs and were in a line to get some food,” his younger sister, Twyla Southall, told the Dayton Daily News.
Relatives said Fudge loved dogs. He had a penchant for picking up strays and nursing them back to health. He would care for anything from giant Dobermans to tiny Chihuahuas, they said. Years ago, Fudge adopted a blind pup when no one else would take care of it.
“He just showed it so much love, and to meet the dog, you wouldn’t know he was blind,” Fudge-Galloway said. “After that, he responded to Derrick so well you would’ve thought he could see.”
The older sister recalled that her brother overcame hardships. In grade school, she said, he was hit by a train while riding a bike. He lost several toes, she said, and was told he would never walk again. But Fudge regained his ability to walk.
“He would fight to the bitter end. He would get knocked down, but he would get up. He would get right back up,” Fudge-Galloway said. “He did this for himself. He pushed himself. He didn’t allow himself to be defeated.”
He is survived by his son and a granddaughter, Fudge-Galloway said. She said her brother will be missed and that he “would give you the shirt off his back.”
Thomas J. McNichols:
Known as TeeJay, Thomas J. McNichols, 25, was a father of four whom an aunt described to a Dayton television station as a “gentle giant.”
“Everybody loved him. He was like a big kid,” Donna Johnson, the aunt, told WHIO-TV. “When all of the movies come out — ‘Batman,’ ‘Black Panther’ — he would get all his nephews and take them to the movies.”
Johnson said McNichols lived with her in a Dayton neighborhood. He attended high school in Dayton and worked in a factory there. He had four children, she said, ages 2 to 8.
Adriana Diggs said it was unusual for her friend him to be in downtown Dayton on a Saturday night.
“He always used to tell me that he doesn’t like going out,” Diggs said. “He wasn’t a club person. He liked to stay at home with family to watch a movie or just hang out.”
McNichols was a caring friend, Diggs said. Last year, she was living in a shelter, and McNichols called multiple times a week to check on her. In recent months, he came to her home to play video games with her 10-year-old son, Diggs said. Because McNichols was so tall, Diggs said, she often had to stand on her bed just to give him a hug.
“This is a guy who would take his shirt off his back for anybody,” she said. “He didn’t deserve for his life to be taken in this way.”
Lois L. Oglesby:
Lois L. Oglesby, 27, was a mother of two, according to an uncle. She had her second baby last month.
“She was a nurse’s aide and a very devoted mother,” her uncle Joe Oglesby said.
Derasha Merrett told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she and Oglesby grew up in the same church and were on the same drill team. Oglesby worked at a day-care center that Merrett’s children attend.
“We’re all family,” Merrett told the Atlanta news outlet. “We’re all hurting behind this.”
She described Oglesby as “a wonderful mother, a wonderful person,” and said: “I have cried so much, I can’t cry any more.”
Saeed Saleh, 38, an African immigrant, was recalled as a kindhearted and hardworking person.
Born in Eritrea, Saleh left his native land as a refugee and spent time Sudan, Libya and Malta before coming to the United States three years ago with his wife and their young daughter, Tekeste Abraham told The Washington Post.
Abraham, who also belongs to Dayton’s Eritrean community, met Saleh when he moved to Ohio. Abraham and Yahya Khamis, a leader in the Dayton Sudanese community, work with immigrants once they come to the city.
Khamis called the 38-year-old Saleh “a very humble man” who was incredibly hard-working.
“He was really a very good guy,” Khamis told The Post. “He loved his family.”
Zaid Eseyas Nuguse, Saleh’s wife, said he was devoted to their 5-year-old daughter, Randa. When he wasn’t working, he and Randa would play games, watch television or take walks in the park, Nuguse said.
“He was very well-liked by people and [got] along with everybody,” Nuguse said.
Saleh worked seven days a week, often 12 to 16 hours at a time, Abraham said. He was working to support his wife and daughter in Dayton as well as two other children in Eritrea and a brother in Egypt. He almost never took a day off, Abraham said, which is why it was so rare that he got to spend Saturday downtown with a friend.
“This was the one day he took off,” Abraham said, “and this happened.”
Logan M. Turner:
Logan M. Turner had just turned 30, his mother told the Dayton Daily News, and was out with friends over the weekend when the gunman opened fire.
“He was very generous and loving and the world’s best son,” Danita Turner told the newspaper. “Everyone loved Logan. He was a happy-go-lucky guy.”
Turner said her son had an engineering degree from the University of Toledo and was working as a machinist at a company in Springboro, Ohio.
Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis:
A week before, Beatrice Warren-Curtis, 36, called her longtime friend Ricky Brown to congratulate him on becoming the head coach of a high school girls basketball team in their hometown of Wilmington, Del. Brown said it was typical of her devoted friendship.
On Aug. 5, he was in disbelief at the news she had been killed in the Dayton shooting.
Brown met Warren-Curtis in sixth grade in Wilmington. They were friends throughout their time at Delcastle Technical High School, he said. The two spent many days together in the school auto shop, he recalled. Known as Nikki in high school, Warren-Curtis was the first in their group of friends to get a car, Brown recalled, and would drive anyone wherever they needed to go.
After graduation, Warren-Curtis moved to Virginia and Brown joined the military, but the friends stayed in touch. They would talk every few months to see how life was going. They kept up on social media and over texts. She had called a few weeks earlier, to congratulate Brown on his daughter’s high school graduation.
“She was one of the most genuine, caring, selfless people that you would meet,” Brown said. “I don’t even think I’ve ever seen her mad at anybody. And she would do anything for anybody without thought or hesitation.”
He said she had a great sense of humor, that she could always lighten the mood and make people smile, with sarcasm or a joke.
“She was one of my best friends,” Brown said. “Loyal, trustworthy, genuine, passionate, honest.”
Brown said some friends are the type who tell you what you want to hear, while others tell you what to need to hear. Warren-Curtis would always tell you what you needed to hear.
Another friend, Otesa Mitchell of Virginia Beach, organizes a donation drive for the area’s needy families every Christmas. Two years ago, on a wintry evening, her friend and former colleague Beatrice Warren-Curtis asked her to come by her new workplace.
Smiling, Warren-Curtis popped open the trunk and back seat of her white BMW, which were overflowing with toys, clothes and children’s shoes, Mitchell, 39, recalled.
“Usually, people donate one or two presents, but what Bea did was above and beyond,” she said.
The Washington Post’s Nick Anderson, Laurel Demkovich, Hailey Fuchs, Morgan Krakow, Hannah Natanson and Rebecca Tan contributed to this report.