Judge on shooter’s friend: ‘Potentially he is a danger to himself or others’

Ethan Kollie — the friend who helped Connor Betts hide his firearm and body armor Betts used in the shooting deaths of nine people in the Oregon District on Aug. 4 — appeared in federal court Wednesday as attorneys argued over whether, where and how Kollie should be detained.

Kollie, of Kettering, was arrested Friday in Beavercreek on suspicion of firearms violations. Federal investigators have said that there was no evidence that Kollie, 24, knew how his friend Betts would use the firearm equipment or that Kollie knowingly took any part in planning of Betts’ massacre along East Fifth Street.

The charges against Kollie do not involve the weapon Betts used.

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Kollie will be detained until a hearing set for Thursday afternoon until pre-trial services staff can check a Dayton-area address where he might be detained.

The location of a possible home detention emerged as a concern in Wednesday’s hearing. Kollie’s Kettering landlord will not permit him back into his apartment, U.S. District Magistrate Michael Newman indicated. And an alternative address where he might stay is near West Virginia — far from Dayton.

In fact, Newman described the location as “significantly far from Columbus.”

Vipal Patel, first assistant U.S. attorney, initially concurred with a pre-trial services recommendation that Kollie be placed under home detention with electronic monitoring.

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Newman, however, wasn’t so sure.

“I think this case merits detention, quite frankly,” Newman told attorneys during the hearing.

Newman read into the record portions of an extensive FBI interview with Kollie, in which Kollie admitted to using drugs with Betts. The magistrate also cited “mental health” concerns that he said a pre-trial report cited, but that he himself could not discuss in open court.

“It appears to me potentially he is a danger to himself or others,” Newman said.

Kollie told federal authorities he purchased items for shooter Betts, then hid them in his apartment to help Betts hide the equipment from his parents, a complaint filed in Dayton’s federal court says.

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Dayton attorney Nicholas Gounaris has said that the firearm at issue in the charges against Kollie was not used in any violent offense.

Kollie faces federal charges of possession of a firearm by an unlawful user/addict of a controlled substance and making a false statement regarding firearms.

“We’re just happy to be in consideration for getting our client released,” Gounaris said after the hearing. “I think the judge made a great decision by considering our information. It doesn’t bother us that it’s going to be continued.”

He added: “We’re going to get the information that we think is necessary, and hopefully our client will be released.”

According to authorities, Kollie has said that, about 10 weeks ago, he helped Betts assemble the weapon used in the Aug. 4 shootings, a federal complaint said. The weapon’s drum magazine arrived in Ohio about six to eight weeks ago.

Kollie faces up to 15 years in prison, U.S. District Attorney Benjamin Glassman has said.

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Gounaris said Kollie provided three separate interviews to federal authorities “to provide helpful information to aid investigators.”

Kollie’s concealed carry permit was confiscated by authorities as a result of the investigation.

Dayton police said Betts fired 40 rounds in about 32 seconds, and six officers running toward Betts fired more than 60 rounds, killing Betts before he could enter the door at Ned Peppers bar. Nine people, plus Betts, died in the shooting, and 17 others suffered gunshot wounds.

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