Meet The Dayton Shooter's Ex-Girlfriend, Who Calls Him A 'Product Of A Failed System'

She saw the signs.

Who Is Adelia Johnson? New Details On Dayton Shooter's Ex Who Calls Him A 'Product Of A Failed System' Instagram 

The murders by gun of nine people in Dayton, Ohio has most of America asking one question: when we will do something about gun violence in this country? The media seems to be at a loss about how to cover the story. Do we say the shooter's name, or not give him the "glory"? Do we politicize the event and have a conversation about guns, or do we focus on the personal details of the victims? Now, one woman is coming forward with more information about the shooter and it's changing the direction of the conversation. Who is Adelia Johnson? She's the woman who briefly dated the Dayton shooter, and now she's opening up about her time with the man. 


1. Who Is Adelia Johnson?

Adelia Johnson, a former girlfriend of the 24-year-old man who shot and killed nine people, including his younger sister, in an attack outside of a bar in Dayton, Ohio on this past Sunday, is speaking out. In an essay that she wrote on Medium, Adelia gives more insight into the man she knew. She paints a picture of a man who was deeply troubled with mental illness who struggled constantly with thoughts of violence. “I have no idea what his motivation was. I will never know,” Adelia wrote in her essay. Speaking out about her brief relationship with the shooter (they only dated for a handful of months) provides scary insight into the man's mind and motivations.


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2. Their First Date 

According to Adelia, if the shooter had a motive for his crimes, it wasn't one of the motives that have been tossed about in the news following the tragedy. “There wasn’t a hate crime. He fought for equality. This wasn’t a crime of passion. He didn’t get passionate enough. This wasn’t very premeditated. He wasn’t a thorough planner," she wrote. Adelia was aware of the darker corners of his mind, she wrote. She reveals in her essay that on even on their very first date he spoke at length about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, showing her a video of the attack and narrating as it played out. 


3. Struggles With Mental Illness 

“He trusted me with so much of his darkness that I forgot most of it,” wrote Adelia, and from her account, his darkness seemed central to his identity. He often talked to her about world tragedies or his struggles with suicidal thoughts, but Adelia wasn't put off by these things, she had her own experience with mental illness. She was also struck by what a "perfect gentleman" he could be, the picture of sweetness, smiling when she put off a kiss after their first date because she wanted to kiss him sober. She assumed that his jokes about wanting to hurt others was his way of expressing thoughts that would otherwise simply fester in his mind. 

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4. Warning Signs?

In her essay, Adelia makes it clear that one of the things she bonded with the shooter over the most was their shared experience with mental illness. Adelia says that in their earlier conversations he revealed to her that he had bipolar disorder and suspected that he might also suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, she, in turn, shared that she struggled with serious anxiety. She also gave insight into his views on guns, saying that he loved them but he didn't believe that people who were mentally ill should be allowed to have access to them. According to a high school friend of the shooter, he once was suspended for creating a list of students he wished that he could kill or rape. 

5. Adelia's Red Flags

There are a couple of critical moments in her relationship that Adelia shares in her essay. To her, these moments stood out as red flags, indicating to her that the relationship and the man himself might be too big of a risk to continue with. According to Adelia, in March or April of this year, while touring with his band, he was drunk to the point of slurring and called her saying that “he wanted to hurt a lot of people.” Then, in May of this year, Adelia says that he told her that he wanted to leave a letter at his ex-girlfriend's house that simply read "You can't outrun your past." She said he tried to make it sound like a joke, but she also knew that he struggled with "uncontrollable urges to do things," like the time he set a fire in an empty and abandoned building. Adelia knew she needed to end the relationship. 


RELATED: Charges Dropped Against Pregnant Marshae Jones Who Was Shot In Stomach And Arrested For Killing Her Baby — While The Shooter Went Free

6. The Horrifying Truth 

Less than a minute after he launched his attack on the innocents of Dayton, the shooter was shot and killed by authorities responding to the scene. Adelia describes in her essay receiving a text from a mutual friend of her and the shooter who speculated that he could be the gunman, but even at that point, it wasn't something that Adelia thought was a serious possibility. While she knew that the shooter had a contentious relationship with his parents, she knew that his sister (who he killed in the attack) was someone of whom he was very fond. She also shared that she and the shooter often talked to each other at length about serial killers. 


Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. She's an experienced generalist with a passion for lifestyle, geek news, pop culture, and true crime.