Michael Biesecker, investigative reporter, Washington; Julie Smyth, reporter, Columbus/Dayton, Ohio; and Reese Dunklin, investigative reporter, Dallas, for reporting that the gunman in the Dayton, Ohio, shooting that killed nine people had significant red flags in his background.
Following up on a thinly sourced local news report that Ohio shooter Connor Betts had a hit list in high school, Biesecker and Dunklin began calling dozens of former classmates, particularly those who may have had a chance of knowing Betts well. They struck paydirt with a former track teammate and a classmate who gave firsthand accounts of knowing not only about the hit list of people Betts wanted to kill, but also a rape list of girls he wanted to sexually assault. Both students had knowledge of separate high school suspensions of Betts, and with help from Smyth and others on the ground in Dayton, AP found more people who could confirm the accounts. Some classmates even questioned how someone with such red flags could be allowed to obtain a gun.