Dayton shooting: Oregon District victim died saving wounded co-workers, boss says

One of the nine people killed in the Oregon District mass shooting died saving the lives of co-workers with whom he was celebrating a job offer, his employer said.

Nicholas Cumer, 25, was shot to death while shielding two young women he was in line with outside a bar before gunman Connor Betts opened fire early Sunday morning on East Fifth Street, according to Karen Wonders, executive director of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance in Dayton.

Cumer’s two female co-workers were among the dozens injured before police killed the shooter, a 24-year-old Bellbrook resident, less than a minute after his rampage started.

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A co-worker Cumer was with outside Ned Peppers said the 25-year-old from Washington, Pa., put himself in harm’s way of the shooter’s semi-automatic rifle after seeing his two female companions wounded, Wonders said.

“They were all kind of standing shoulder to shoulder just waiting to get in whenever it happened,” said Wonders, who said Cumer was completing an internship and preparing to accept a job offer.

“And from what I understand, the two girls were hit first,” she added. “And Nick died because after they were shot, he was trying to hold them both together and was shielding them from any more gunfire. And that’s when he was hit.”

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Cumer died of multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner’s office announced Friday. The second of two days of visitation for him is taking place from 1 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. today at Piatt and Barnhill Funeral Home in Washington, Pa. Private services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“One of the things that always stands out to us with Nick was how giving he was of himself,” Wonders said.

“And we saw that when he served his patients,” she added. “That’s how he died. He was giving himself to protect two other women. And I just think that’s so fitting of the person that he was.”

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One of the women with him was shot in the abdomen and the other was wounded in the leg, Wonders said. One has been released from the hospital while the other underwent surgery earlier in the week.

“Both are expected to make a full recovery,” she said.

Wonders said a Maple Tree employee at the scene that night told her that he and his girlfriend were with Cumer and the two women – also interns – celebrating a job offer the Pennsylvania native received from the health care business just days before.

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Wonders said the company so valued Cumer’s work that they not only wanted to hire him full-time, but the leadership wanted him to run a new office it plans to open.

“When we were looking to fill who would run that center – the manager at that site - we looked at all of our options and Nick was No.1 on our list,“ she said.

Cumer’s internship, Wonders said, was the last step in earning a master’s degree from Saint Francis University, where he had earned an undergraduate degree an exercise physiology.

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“He had a lot of experience in training,” which is a key quality Maple Tree seeks in someone “to be the lead person at each of our sites, run it and manage the people under them,” she said.

Cumer had not formally accepted to offer.

But he had let the firm’s leadership that “basically, this was his dream job. He said his entire internship he wanted to work at Maple Tree and have his career be here,” she said.

“From the conversations we’ve had with the people he was with that night,” Wonders said, “they were out celebrating that he had gotten the job.”

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