DAYTON, Ohio — The mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District last year claimed the lives of nine innocent people, but there were many who stood up and saved lives during the tragedy.

What You Need To Know

  • Ned Peppers Bar bouncer Jeremy Ganger was one of the heroes the night of the Oregon District Shooting one year ago

  • The memories from that night and grief from the lives lost haunt him every day

  • But Ganger says he is healing, as is the community

  • He is proud of how the city rallied together after the tragedy and hopes the memory of those lost continue to live on

Jeremy Ganger was working security at the front door of Ned Peppers Bar when Connor Betts terrorized the Oregon District, claiming the nine lives.

He said the memories of that night haunt him every day.

“Still have a lot of bad memories from that night,” Ganger said. “Still have a lot of guilt and remorse from what happened that night. We were able to help out 250 people, maybe more, but unfortunately the nine people that passed away, that’s what bothers me to this day.”

Without knowing, Ganger checked Betts' ID earlier in the night to enter the bar. And during the shooting, Ganger was seconds away from facing the shooter head-on. Despite great pressure, he never lost focus.


“First thing that went through my head when I knew what was going on: I got friends, family, and we had customers in there obviously,” he said. “That was the most important thing, was to make sure everyone was getting saved as possible.”

For his actions that night, Ganger has been recognized by many. He was presented an honorary WWE Championship belt by Triple H. Something truly special to him because he’s a longtime professional wrestler himself.

“The words that they said to me, about how I’m part of that family, because I’ve been a pro wrestler for 13 years now — and to hear them say that, meeting everybody, hugging everybody,” he said. "That lifts you up so high and your spirit so high.”

He also was recognized at UD Arena on Senior Night. But Ganger doesn’t view himself as a hero — giving all the credit to the police who ended the threat that night.

“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be here today,” Ganger said. “And I am so grateful they were there. They are the true heroes that night and they deserve everything they get and more.”

Ganger is back to work at Ned Peppers but said he suffers from PTSD from the shooting.

“The pain and the guilt you deal with every day,” he said. “I don’t sleep well still, I still have nightmares. When I go to work that’s all I think about is that night. When I hear fireworks — loud noises make me jump. I am a PTSD person now; anxiety and depression person, and I fight it every day. I want others to fight it and for people to know that we’re all here to listen, talk and help out.”

He, along with the community, will continue to heal. But he wants people to never forget the nine people they lost.

“I want the idea of what happened there to fade, but the thing I don’t want to fade away and for people to forget about is the nine people that we lost that night,” he said. “I would take their spot if I could. To have any of those nine to be with their family again, spend Christmas, holidays — be with their kids. I truly am sorry they had to lose a family member.”

He’s extremely proud of how the city rallied together in response to tragedy — and hopes that always continues.

“People surrounded each other with so much love,” he said. “They say Dayton strong, we live it, we speak it every day. The thing about that night that bothers me the most, like I said, is someone tried to take all that away from us in one night. As of right now, in my eyes he hasn’t taken anything away from me. And I hope the community can see to keep coming out, to all the businesses down here. We’re still here, we’re still working, please come out, support us — because we are Dayton Strong.”