The Ohio bar bouncer who helped people flee the Dayton shooting massacre has described the terrifying moment he came face-to-face with the gunman and says he would have died before letting him into the venue to hurt customers.
Jeremy Ganger, who was working the door at Ned Peppers the night of the massacre, was captured on surveillance footage hustling terrified people into the bar when Connor Betts started shooting on the street.
The gunman managed to make it to the door of the bar before being shot dead by multiple police officers.
Ganger, who used to be a wrestler, told ABC News that he saw the gunman coming up the street with a ‘dead stare’ and that he had to physically throw people inside the bar to get them away from the gunfire.
‘I could see him coming our way and I started getting people as fast as I could,’ he said.
‘(I was) grabbing people, telling them to get in, get down, stay safe. Telling them to get all the way in as far as they could. Don’t watch the door, don’t watch what’s coming.
‘I was grabbing them as fast as I could, best I could… and then watched a few people get hit.’
Ganger said he spotted an officer across the street just as the gunman made it to the door of the bar.
‘I looked at him [the gunman]right in the face. He had a dead stare,’ Ganger said.
‘When he got to the door, I saw an officer over to the side of the street and I looked up, I looked at the guy and I said: ‘I hope the cop gets him before he gets me’ because he wasn’t coming in our club.
‘Our patrons are more important than one active shooter so I was going to try to stand my ground the best I could.’
Ganger recalls the gunman walking calmly as he opened fire, saying he was prepared with ear plugs and his gun loaded.
‘He knew he wasn’t coming out,’ Ganger said.
‘You could tell he knew what he was doing. I don’t know why, but he was there to hurt us.’
Ganger said there was at least 200 people inside the bar when the gunman was shot dead.
‘My job’s the door. I protect the customers and my guys that work there as well, all the staff members, so when I saw the chance to step up and help do my job, my part, that’s all it was. My job,’ he said.
The gunman shot dead nine people, including his 22-year-old sister Megan Betts, in the massacre.
The parents of the shooter released a statement on Wednesday, saying they are devastated and are cooperating with law enforcement.
The family offered ‘their most heartfelt prayers and condolences’ to the victims killed by their son.
They also thanked first responders for their swift action to minimize casualties.
The parents requested privacy ‘in order to mourn the loss of their son and daughter and to process the horror of Sunday’s events’.
The FBI has since opened an investigation into the mass shooting, citing the gunman’s interest in violent ideology.
The head of the FBI’s Cincinnati field office says investigators will try to determine what ideologies influenced Betts and why he chose to target that specific area.