“He had a good job at Thaler Machine Company. He’d bought a house in Miami Township and he owned his dream car — a Mustang,” Mike said.
“And he was in love. He’d found a young lady. Her name was Molly ... Molly Hinton. ... He said she was the one.”
That likely was all part of the conversation in Mason’s kitchen that evening.
“He and Mason had known each other so long, they could be emotional together and share what they were thinking,” Mike said. “And Mason said he told him, even though each of them was getting on with their lives, he didn’t want them to forget each other. He wanted to always …”
Mike’s voice suddenly was tripped by his welling emotion and, for a second, he couldn’t finish his thought.
“Logan told him, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll be friends forever.’
“But then, later that night ... ”
Mike drifted into pained silence.
In the past Molly has recounted how, after Logan got to the Oregon District with Mason and Travis Osborne, he texted her before she went to bed, saying: “Love you, Baby… Goodnight.”
About an hour after midnight, the three friends were in line at Ned Peppers Bar on East Fifth Street when a 24-year-old gunman from Bellbrook — clad in black body armor and firing an AR-15 style weapon equipped with a 100-round drum magazine loaded with .223-caliber ammunition — stepped out of the darkened walkway west of Blind Bob’s patio and into the crowded street.
In just 32 seconds he killed nine people and left 37 injured. Police shot him dead as he was about to enter Ned Peppers where it’s estimated as many as 200 panicked people had sought cover and were basically trapped except for a lone back door.
Logan, Mason and Travis all were shot.
While Travis suffered significant and lasting damage to his arm, Mike said, and Mason wasn’t as severely injured, Logan was mortally wounded.
“Two women — Kayla Allison and Holley Redman — rushed to Logan’s aid,” Mike said quietly. “They ran into danger rather than away from it.
“Kayla was an ICU nurse at the time and she did everything she could. Holley stripped down, using this and that for tourniquets. She gave mouth to mouth. They did CPR. But doctors said Logan couldn’t have been saved, even if he’d been in an emergency room.”
The others who were murdered that night included: 27-year-old Lois Ogelsby, a mother of two young daughters; 38-year-old Saeed Saleh who left a wife and 5-year-old daughter; 57-year-old Derrick Fudge, who died in the arms of his son, Dion Green; Nicholas Comer, a 25-year-old intern at Maple Tree Cancer Alliance who died shielding a fellow trainer who’d been shot; Thomas McNichols, 25, the father of four; Beatrice Warren-Curtis, 36, from Virginia Beach, Va., who was with her friend, Monica Brickhouse ,39; and Megan Betts, a 22-year-old Wright State student who was the sister of the shooter, Connor Betts.
The day after carnage — the worst mass shooting in Ohio since 1975 — I was standing at the makeshift memorial which already had taken shape in front of Ned Peppers when I saw Mike Turner quietly slip from a throng of people and tape a photo of Logan, in his Springboro High School football uniform, to a wrought iron fence near the bar entrance.
A few days later, Mike said Kayla showed up at Logan’s funeral, but stayed in her car:
“She stayed in the parking lot and didn’t come in until it was over. She couldn’t face him. Her job is to save lives and Logan’s death messed with her for quite a while.”
Since Logan’s death — which rocked Springboro, where he was a popular favorite son — there have been some special remembrances of him.
His former Springboro teammate, Jake Ballard, who had gone on to be a stellar tight end at Ohio State, played four years in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the New York Giants, started a GoFundMe page in Logan’s name and Mike said all that money went to starting a scholarship for Springboro High students going to Sinclair Community Collège to study engineering as Logan had done.
The second-graders at Five Points Elementary in Springboro wrote letters, drew pictures and made a booklet that became the impetus for the formation of Logan’s Bark Park, a dog park at Hazel Woods Park that honors Logan, who was a dog lover.
“Each student wrote a page and added an illustration,” Mike said, his voice again catching. “Logan would have loved it.”
After an unpleasant misunderstanding at the Oregon District vigil the day after the shooting, Mike began his own campaign that became known as #LoganHugs.
And, at 6-foot-7, Mike can give some mighty convincing embraces.
And yet, nothing has gotten easier for him or the rest of the family.
Mike and his wife, Kathy, live just north of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Logan’s mom, Danita, and her husband, Bill Wood, recently moved to Florida.
Mike said he’s still grieving: “I miss him so dearly …It’s just hard to imagine my son is dead.”
He said he’s in his “second round” of therapy: “They say I’m in deep depression. I can sit down at the dinner table and start eating and suddenly something I see reminds me of Logan and I just go into a blank stare.”
He and his wife came back to Dayton this week to remember Logan’s birthday last Sunday. Mike’s 91-year-old mother, Christine “Mamaw” Wuebbe lives in Centerville, as does Logan’s aunt Susan Scherbauer.
“We all went to dinner,” Mike said. “We try to keep that day sacred.”
Today from 5 to 8 p.m. he will be at an Oregon District remembrance — “Never Forget the 9″ —organized by Dion Green (who’s become his friend) and his Fudge Foundation. There will be speakers and music and communal embrace.
“The people of Dayton, Ohio have been very nice to us,” Mike said. “They’ve helped us every way they can.
“I know a lot of people who can’t go down (to the Oregon District) any longer, but then I know other people who go there just for that reason — to still be in touch with the nine people.
“Going there, I at least get to communicate with some people who have been in the same situation. It brings a little bit of healing to talk to people who understand what I’m talking about.
“But it’s still tough to stand on the spot where he died. The idea of my son being shot the way he was, and I wasn’t there to help him as a parent, that really has taken a toll on me.”
‘One day you’re going to own this place’
Mike said Logan started life at 9½ pounds and 21 inches and by high school was 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds.
He initially played saxophone in the band and would get a black belt in taekwondo. He took up football late because of asthma.
He became an offensive lineman for the Panthers, but was sidelined junior year with a broken wrist. By his senior season, he’d become a starter at right tackle.
He began college at the University of Toledo, stayed a year and a half and then studied briefly at Wright State.
He helped coach football in Springboro for a while and got a job at the Whiskey Barrel, where he became a popular bartender. He paid his way through Sinclair and got a degree in mechanical engineering technology.
“These guys from Thaler used to come in for lunch and Logan knew what they liked to eat, so he’d have it ready for them because they only had a half-hour or something,” Mike said.
“Logan called me one day and said: “Dad, the owner of Thaler was talking to me and asked me, ‘Logan, what does your future look like?’
“When Logan told him about his degree from Sinclair, he said, ‘Come over tomorrow and let’s talk.’ “That night I told Logan, ‘OK, dress nice and take a pen. You always need a pen.’
“But after he went there, he called me again and said, ‘Dad, I didn’t have to write anything down. They hired me on the spot!’
“He loved that job and they had high hopes for him. It seemed like they were giving him raises all the time. Guys would tell him, ‘Logan, one day you’re going to own this place!’”
As Mike remembered the conversations with his son, he smiled:
“Sure, we had some tough days along the way, but it had gotten to the point where he’d call me up and say ‘Dad, you remember that time we talked about this or that? Well, you were right.’ I just loved it. He was a good kid.”
And that’s why this is so tough for the 69-year-old father.
Logan was his only child.
The hurt was very raw the night after the shooting when a large crowd gathered for a vigil on Fifth Street that included speakers like Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, whose remarks were momentarily drowned out by a chant of “Do Something!”
Mike said he was in the crowd, leaning on the cane he used for his hip problems:
“Some people got rowdy and the guy behind me was frothing at the mouth. I got mad at him. I was like, ‘What’s your problem? Why are you acting like that? I lost my son last night. What did you lose?’
“Then this little girl got in my face. She’d heard me tell him to stop and she was screaming at me. I pushed her back and said, ‘Just shut up. Leave me alone.’ She started screaming that I’d hit her and the Dayton cops came and escorted some people away.
“That’s when my wife said, ‘Let’s get out of here.’
“And that’s when I knew I had to find something. I thought, ‘What would Logan want you to do?’ He was kind and loved everyone and that’s the night hashtag Logan Hugs began. I hugged people whenever I could. I had it on my shirt. Wrote it on napkins. I made it a way to remember my son.”
‘I’ll never forget your son’
As we sat in the living room of his mother’s Centerville home the other day, he talked about the difficulty so many people still have with Logan’s death.
His sister across the street can’t talk about Logan. She has no children and he was like her own son. His mother struggles, too. And so does Molly, who moved near Cincinnati and works as a dental hygienist in Northern Kentucky.
“She calls Mom every Monday and they talk, but I have a hard time talking to her,” he said quietly.
Initially, he said he had a lot of anger and though counseling has helped, he still has real issues with the way the shooter careened through life, mostly unchecked by those — from his parents to the guy who bought him much of his armament to Bellbrook High School, where he’d been briefly suspended when lists of students he wanted to kill and rape were discovered — who could have better aided him and warned others.
He noted how the media sued Bellbrook to get the shooter’s records made public to better find out why this happened.
Bellbrook refused to release the information and went all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court and won.
“The school basically said it was a non-issue. That he was dead now,” Mike said with disgust. “I need that for closure.”
He is part of the four victims’ families who joined a lawsuit — initiated by Green — suing Kyung Chang Industry USA and its related South Korean company who are the makers of the firearm magazine used in the killing spree. The suit claims, among other things, negligence by the company that makes 100-round magazines of use primarily, he said, by the military and mass shooters.
Mike, who stressed he’s “a Second Amendment guy” as was Logan, said he doesn’t want to ban guns, but does take issue with the large-capacity magazines:
“If you were to look at the company’s advertisement for these extended magazines and drums, one of the pictures showed a kid with two Glocks with the drums underneath them. The caption was ‘Go take the world.’
“There’s no need for those magazines. They’re used for mass destruction. The bring devastation.”
And that’s what happened, August 4, 2019, in the Oregon District.
“Logan had that big smile and that big, big heart,” Mike said softly before recounting a story that illustrates that:
“After all this happened, I remember meeting Molly and her dad at Austin Landing for breakfast and a waitress walked up just bawling her eyes out. I couldn’t understand a word she was saying until she calmed down.
“Finally, she said, ‘Your son was the best person I ever met. One night I was waitressing and I hadn’t made any money all night. Logan saw I was having a tough time and he reached into his pocket and gave me $100.
“You don’t realize what that meant to me.
“I’ll never forget that.
“I’ll never forget your son.”