Bob Mendenhall owns and operates Blind Bob’s and Lily’s Bistro with his family. JIM WITMER/STAFF
Photo: Jim Witmer
Photo: Jim Witmer

Here’s why this Oregon District restaurant owner says he started the ‘do something’ chant following mass shooting

“I’ve heard the same pabulum before,” Bob Mendenhall said. “I didn’t want to hear it anymore.”

Hours before he started a chant that prompted Ohio’s governor to roll out a gun violence and mental health proposal, an Oregon District business owner stood by as firefighters washed still-fresh blood from the sidewalk in front of his restaurant. 

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Bob Mendenhall, the co-owner of Blind Bob’s and Lily’s Bistro, says he was angry.

Still, Mendenhall said he did not plan to start the “do something” chant that interrupted Gov. Mike DeWine’s address to a crowd that nearly stretched from one end of Fifth Street to the other.

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The Sunday, Aug. 4, address came just hours after a 24-year-old Bellbrook man killed nine people  —  Derrick Fudge, 57; Lois Oglesby, 27; Saeed Saleh, 38; Logan Turner, 30; Nicholas Cumer, 25; Thomas McNichols, 25; Beatrice Warren-Curtis, 36; Monica Brickhouse, 39 and Megan Betts, 22  —  in one of the worst mass shootings in the state’s history. 

DAYTON, OHIO - AUGUST 04: Mourners leave flowers and candles at the entrance of Ned Peppers bar in the Oregon District following a memorial service to recognize the victims of a mass shooting early this morning on August 04, 2019 in Dayton, Ohio. Many of the victims were reported to have been shot in front of the bar. At least 9 people were reported to have been killed and another 27 injured when a gunman identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts opened fire with a AR-15 style rifle. The shooting comes less than 24 hours after a gunman in Texas opened fire at a shopping mall killing at least 20 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Mendenhall’s feelings rose to the surface as the governor spoke. The words “do something” emerged from his mouth. 

“I’ve heard the same pabulum before,” Mendenhall told this news organization Sunday, Aug. 18, inside of Blind Bob’s. “I didn’t want to hear it anymore.” 

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The tavern and other businesses in the historic neighborhood were pushed into the national spotlight due to the shooting that injured dozens, either from bullets or the process of fleeing the scene. 

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The gunman, Connor Betts, was shot and killed by police.

Shoes, purses and cellphones were abandoned as people ran. 

Bartenders, revelers and bouncers helped first responders attend to those who were hurt. 

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Mendenhall said one man chanting “do something” is one thing. Action came with others joining in.

“It is not about me,” he said. “It is about everyone else out there.” 

Gov. DeWine on Aug. 6 announced a list of policy proposals to fight gun violence, including red-flag laws and tougher background checks.

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“I understand that anger,” DeWine said in announcing his proposals. “Some chanted ‘do something’ and they were absolutely right. We must do something and that is exactly what we are going to do.”

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Family members and friends console each other Saturday during the funeral service for Derrick Fudge, who was killed in the Oregon District mass shooting last Sunday. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

A survey conducted recently by a coalition of Ohio newspapers — including the Dayton Daily News — found 10 Republican legislators and 31 Democratic members of the Ohio General Assembly saying they support DeWine’s “red flag” proposal.

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Mendenhall said he does not intend to “bad mouth the governor.”
“If he does something, I will give him all the credit in the world,” he said.

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