- Esrati - https://esrati.com -

The Schooler Murder. Where did he get a gun?

Reverend William Schooler was killed by his mentally ill brother, Daniel Schooler in Dayton Ohio on Feb 18, 2016 with a gun [1]Give or take, this is what I wrote on Facebook on Sunday night. I’m still trying to gather my thoughts about this.

I’ve know Reverend Schooler for at least 25 years.
He was gunned down by his mentally ill brother in his church on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016.
I can’t think of a sadder story.
Schooler was one of the more pragmatic and practical of the Black Ministers- and one who cared more about the people in this community- and especially kids- than most of the others.
I don’t know how many high school sporting events I ended up sitting next to him- and he’d put his arm around my shoulder and say, “Now, listen to me David…” as if I had any other choice.
I didn’t always agree with him, and I don’t think that the school board made the right decision picking him over 8 others- including my ex- who would have been awesome on the board- but, I know that his heart was always in the right place.
I can’t fathom what drove his brother to do this.
The hell he’ll have to live through when he realizes what he’s done…
and how this is going to affect his family- forever.
I don’t believe in heaven- or hell, but I know Bill did. And I know he’s happy to meet his maker- and to be free of the earthly constraints of his spirit.
Our community has lost a big heart- and a good man.
And it’s going to take me a long time to stop feeling a sense of loss, due to this needless shooting.

The first reports in the Dayton Daily news had Bill’s name, but, for some reason, it took them until evening to realize he was a former school board member, a teacher, a principal, a decorated Vietnam Veteran. The institutional knowledge base of the local “if it bleeds, it leads” news departments is deplorably thin. But, this was the kind of story that makes the front page. They love a good tragedy.
How many things had Bill done over the years in this community that didn’t make the front page that made a bigger impact? We’ll be reading about this for a while.

Schooler, and when you said “Schooler” everyone knew who you were talking about, was a master people person. He’d share connections, insights, and counsel with almost anyone who sought his help. I first met him in 1993 when I was running for mayor. He was helping Mark Donelson, who was the husband of Sherie McLin then, who was running for commission along with Reverend William Augman. Dean Lovelace was in that race, and pulled out to move into a special election to fill the seat that Mark Henry vacated mid-term. The incumbents were Tony Capizzi and Dick Zimmer.

The West Side was foreign to me then. Between Donelson and Schooler, I got my first hints of how it worked, didn’t work, the ministers, the projects. I remember riding to events with Donelson where he would detour and take me through parts of town that I didn’t feel that safe in. Mark, who was known as “Hollywood” and Schooler knew everyone. I saw Yuma Place, Arlington Courts, Hilltop, The Bass – with the windows open, and rolling slow. That we had a housing project with the nickname “Gangster Courts” almost seemed sickly romantic- as if there was some kind of glamour to it. I was young, dumb, naive, innocent and blind to how rough some parts of town were. They opened my eyes. All these years later, some of these places are gone, and have parks on them. I go there and hang green basketball nets. I don’t fear my city anymore, some of that comes directly from Schooler.

I never met Bill’s brother Daniel. I did meet Mark Donelson’s brother, Ron Ragland (It’s been a long time, I hope I’ve got his name correct) many times. He was murdered in a domestic dispute years ago, still a young man.

There is a common denominator here, black men dying by gun violence. Or as my friend, artist James Pate calls his series on the subject, “Kin Killing Kin” [2]– there is no mistake about the abbreviation KKK for this story- it’s no longer the Klan killing off our black community, it’s the community killing itself.

All this twisted path to come down to this:

Court records show Daniel Schooler has a troubled and violent past. In 2001, he was charged with felonious assault with a firearm specification and carrying a concealed weapon, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records.

Source: Pastor-slaying suspect described as ill, violent

There were other assaults, there were other instances where Daniel Schooler beat people, did time in prison, and the judge even questioned his mental state then:

“Court documents note Schooler “may be mentally ill and in need of treatment.” He was sentenced to five years of probation.

I’ve made my stands on the 2nd Amendment pretty clear over the years. I believe in the whole amendment, not partial interpretations.

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

To me, this means, as part of an organization, that meets regularly, and has been fully trained in the proper and safe use of arms, may keep them- in an armory, that is guarded and manned, 24-7 by members of said militia. Being a “strict constructionist,” (thank you Judge Scalia for that esteemed BS)  I also believe that the ownership of arms is limited to the type of firepower that was available at the time of the writing- which means slow to load, single shot, limited accuracy. The right of the people to keep and bear arms- does not include TOW missiles, Claymore mines or nuclear arms- which means, that the right to own a semi-automatic pistol isn’t legitimized anymore by this insane idea that owning weapons makes us some kind of special.

The only thing special about arms ownership in America, is that you are much more likely to die by a gun than in any other civilized, industrialized country in the world. Need proof? Look no further than Bill Schooler, a man of the cloth, a teacher, a decorated veteran.

There will be a trial, unless Dan Schooler either kills himself in jail, or someone else does it for him. We’ll find out thatmentally unstable. He may get sent off to a forensic psych ward, or to prison for the rest of his miserable life. None of this will bring back his brother. We’ll be throwing a lot of good money after bad, trying to make an example out of Daniel, trying to get our ounce of flesh, to do the eye-for-an-eye thing- where everyone will end up blind.

None of that matters.

The only thing that matters is how did he get the gun? Where did he get the gun? Who’s gun was it? And, that’s the person who should be standing trial.

But, sadly, that too is just smoke and mirrors. We’ve done this to ourselves. One gun, one bullet, one fucked up interpretation of twenty seven words, written long ago, by people who we’ve somehow deified, who had no clue of the carnage that would become our county in the name of  “security of a free State” in which there is no true protection from these acts of senseless violence that have taken a good man away from us for no good reason.

Schooler, if you can hear me, I will not forget you.

If you enjoyed reading true breaking news, instead of broken news from the major media in Dayton, make sure you subscribe to this site for an email every time I post. If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating [3]. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps! Please also subscribe to the Youtube channel for notifications of every video we launch – including the livestreams.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Esrati, I can appreciate your feeling of loss but there’s always going to be some nut case somewhere that gets a hold of a gun, if not a gun a knife, a sword, a ball bat, a brick, a rock or his base hands. I’m sure the Reverend would have noted that Cain killed his brother along time ago too. For you to use this tragedy as more fodder for your left wing anti-gun rally is hardly tribute. Save your breath for challenging city hall. At least I can appreciate your efforts with that fight.


Other side of this coin:

We have tried to save money by slashing services for the mentally ill. It started in the 1980s when the Reagan administration promised to shutter most residential mental health facilities and replace them with outpatient community services centers–they did the shuttering part and defaulted on the new service centers part. The trend continues, witness the Kasich administration’s closure of the last local residential mental health facility.

So a judge says “he may be mentally ill” and he’s released to the streets with no help. How do the courts and district attorneys look at themselves in the mirror? It is cruel to leave those individuals to their own devices–and in very many cases, tragic.

If your idea is that it’s smart to cut more taxes and eliminate those sorts of government services, please re-think. Do so not only on behalf of Schooler, but also Officer Hopper and the 120 other law enforcement officers killed by the mentally ill, for the victims of the mass killings at so many locations. You are not safe on the streets under current mental health systems.


The part of this that makes me feel hopeless is that there are SO MANY PLACES he could have gotten the gun, including countless “private sales” (aka on the street). We are armed to the extreme. Certainly that can’t be what the second amendment is supposed to be about.


News report updates seem to indicate this may have been less about mental health and more about good ol’ fashioned greed. Sounds like younger brother had a beef with older brother about an inheritance. The media will spin it to get the most bang for their anti-guns buck, but perhaps it’s just as simple as infighting over money. That doesn’t sell papers, however.


Trudick you may forget but Kennedy was the first to kick the mentally ill out of hospitals and close scores of them nationwide. As I recall he was a democrat.

Brian West

Preach, David! “We’ve done this to ourselves. One gun, one bullet, one fucked up interpretation of twenty seven words, written long ago, by people who we’ve somehow deified, who had no clue of the carnage that would become our county in the name of “security of a free State” in which there is no true protection from these acts of senseless violence that have taken a good man away from us for no good reason.”

Dave C.

This is truly an awful event. A wonderful man is murdered by a seriously mentally ill man, his brother.

My concern here is less about the management of firearms, and more about the management of those individuals with serious mental illnesses. It is time to understand that those that exhibit symptoms of mental illness to to be taken seriously. Their issues need to be addressed directly, expeditiously, and continuously. Many of these individuals need to be confined, a difficult thing to do as it may violate civil rights under current law.

Mental illness is as real as any other medical problem. It’s not a punch line in a joke, it’s a serious problem that devastates lives. Let’s start taking it seriously in our schools, our legal system, our medical system and in every other aspects of our collective lives


This all goes full circle. This certainly comes down to society where individuals are fall out between the cracks in mental health. Why you may ask? It also comes down to taking the time to understand what is wrong to begin with instead of having someone troubled simply take a pill to put a band aid for a quick fix. We need to understand, get along with one another and listen to one with a compassionate ear. In a stable society if one cannot intervene in a non threatening way someone else can step in to lend a helping hand possibly avert these acts before they happen and most can be preventable if we had a stable family unit who cares, has love in the heart, morals, and ethics built in to our society and it all starts at home. A society cannot stop it all, but take a look; it is all becoming all too common today, unlike years ago. Take a look at the family unit today, family values, knowing and teaching right from wrong; we see today one parent, or foster parent in the home, unwanted siblings, abuse, growing up in a troubled home, divorce, broken families all spell trouble for a child that grows up and something snaps even before adulthood. It crosses all classes of individuals, rich and poor, all nationalities. The family has deteriorated into these kinds of troubles because it is not whole crossing over to our courts, schools, city to city, and all built in to the fabric of society, both public and private. Take a look at the recent news of the Columbus restaurant incident and the Madison high school in Butler county with the troubled teen of just 14 years of age out of the blue committing the act when no one expected it. All too often we are seeing these more frequent in our society as it is in the next generation moving forward we see this occurring in the broken family unit carried over and repeated. We need to get back to basics with a stable family unit… Read more »

David Lauri

Someone rambles on about family values and how we need “a stable family unit with two parents, a mom and dad to guide a child into adulthood,” as if that has anything to do with the Schooler brothers, who grew up with two parents, Pastor Allen H. and Annie L. Schooler.


David Lauri it may not be case with the Schooler brothers but consider the benefits of what I stated. It does manner because our priories in this country are mixed up and mental illness can happen to any family. Take a look at where we are at today in America and how we rarely heard of these kinds of things years ago.

Remember, I hope no one in our families have this happen; I am sure if this happened to any of our families we would be devastated and would want answers to know why. If we had more love then hate we might avoid more of this and we may ease these kinds of problems and many others.

It is no ramble; this is a serious problem and goes beyond just the Schooler brothers. It involves all of us and our society.


New Government – you make some very valid points. Families are not what they used to be. Not only is divorce an issue but also family unity is not what it used to be. Family cohesion is practically nonexistent. Grandparents are too busy to help out with the grandchildren. Adult children send their parents off to nursing homes to be cared for. Inter-generational socialization is nonexistent. Younger generations do not have the opportunity to learn from older generations. Unlike other species, bringing up of human beings requires a tremendous amount of care and resources. The proper make up of the family can be argued all day long. But the undeniable truth is it takes more than one ( Family member not a village ) to properly raise a child.