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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.