Opening Comments to Debrief for Oregon District Shooting Survivors – October 23, 2020
By Richard S. Biehl, Police Chief (RET)
*This is an article from the Spring 2022 issue of Combat Stress
Greetings. I am Richard Biehl, Police Chief of the City of Dayton, and I extend a heartfelt welcome to you from the City of Dayton and the Dayton Police Department.
I first want to offer my deepest condolences to those who lost a loved one due to the mass attack in our community in August last year and my wish to each of you for healing and recovery as well as all who were harmed in any way by this terrible tragedy.
We are here today for a solemn undertaking – to try to provide to everyone present, and publicly sometime later, a more detailed explanation and thorough understanding of the tragic events that unfolded in the Oregon District on August 4, 2019, to the extent that such explanations are available.
To do so, you will be hearing details from the investigation of the Dayton Police Department into the mass shooting that occurred on this date, the actions of Dayton Police personnel responding to the attack, as well as the immediate response locally and regionally to render aid to those wounded and injured by it. You will also hear details of the investigation of the actions of the assailant on the evening of August 3rd leading up to his fatal assault in the early morning of August 4th.
This presentation will be followed by a summary of the extensive follow-up investigation by the FBI and the Behavioral Assessment Unit into the background of the assailant and his actions leading up to the attack as well as the actions of anyone else, either directly or indirectly, that contributed to the preparation for the attack. These investigations will add some clarity regarding what happened and by whom.
The deeper question, and one not always answered sufficiently – is why? While the following discussion will provide greater clarity to this looming question, the information provided may not, and for some likely will not, provide an explanation to adequately address it. Sometimes, particularly in circumstances of profound tragedy and loss, words and explanations fail to provide what is most wanted and most needed.
Given the gravity and tragic circumstances that bring us here, I want to encourage all who were harmed that August evening and all who lost a loved one that evening, to avail yourselves of the support available in the room – both from those who accompanied you as well as Salvation Army staff, FBI victim advocates, and others – to foster compassionate self-care, now and always.
If any of the content of the presentation or subsequent discussion is too difficult for you, please permit yourself to direct your attention away from the content to include leaving the room to do so. Your presence and participation are voluntary, and you may choose when and to what extent that you are willing and capable of doing so.
Lt. Jason Hall, Violent Crime Bureau Commander for the Dayton Police Department, will provide the presentation on behalf of the Dayton Police Department and will also acknowledge other Dayton Police personnel in the room.
Before he does so, I want to acknowledge and thank The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center administration and staff for graciously hosting and supporting this gathering.
I thank you for your patience today and during the lengthy process needed to conduct these investigations as well as the extended time, due to the national health crisis, to plan, coordinate and convene this gathering. It was our collective intention and efforts to provide you as much information as possible that may be helpful to you.
Please know that we will continue to make ourselves available to each of you to further assist you in any way that is needed.
As I close, I offer the following prayer to you:
May you be safe and free from harm.
May you know peace.
May you always be held in love and met with compassion.