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Central Floridians with Ties to Dayton Respond to Sunday’s Mass Shooting

The mass shooting in Dayton Ohio over the weekend has touched Central Floridians. 

Cynthia Phillips got to know Nick Cumer when she was a substitute teacher at Washington High School in Pennsylvania, where Cumer was a classmate of her son and daughter. 

“Nick was the drum major. He was the prom king. He played on the girls’ volleyball team because we didn’t have a boys’ volleyball team.”

Cumer was one of nine people killed in a shooting in the Oregon District in Dayton early Sunday morning. 

“After it set in with me you know I’ve been on and off just heartbroken, crying all day long. Thinking of his parents and remembering his face and thinking of you know what was going through his head when all of this was happening to him.”

Phillips said Cumer had moved to Dayton only recently to attend a graduate program in Cancer Care at St. Francis University.  

Journalist Melissa Ross, who hosts the Florida RoundUp and First Coast Connect at WJCT, grew up in Dayton.

Ross says  she woke up to texts on Sunday from her parents and brother, who still lives there, checking on family and friends’ safety. 

“I have memories as a teenager and a young adult. Going and hanging out at bars and clubs and restaurants in the Oregon District. It’s just sort of a rite of passage of people who come-of-age in that community. So it’s just sad. It’s just really, really awful to think about that happy little block, that little historic area being the site of so much pain and horror.”

Ross says Dayton is like a lot of Midwestern communities that have seen the loss of their manufacturing base and other challenges. She says the people there have been through a lot already, but they’re tough and they’ll do what they can to help each other.

Nine people were killed in the shooting on early Sunday morning in Dayton. 

More than twenty people were killed in a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso less than 24 hours earlier. 

If you’d like to listen to the story, please click on the clips above.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur


Danielle Prieur is a general reporter for 90.7 News. She studied journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and interned at 101.9 WDET. She is originally from the metro Detroit area.