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New Short Documentary Recounts Memorial Day Tornadoes and Oregon District Mass Shooting

A screen capture from 'Dayton's Darkest Summer.'
A screen capture from 'Dayton's Darkest Summer.'

On Thursday night, a team of University of Dayton filmmakers released a new short documentary examining the city’s response to the 2019 Memorial Day Tornadoes, and the mass shooting that occurred in the Oregon District.

More than 150 people logged onto Zoom to watch the world premiere of “Dayton’s Darkest Summer”.

The media production students who produced this 15 minute documentary interviewed Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, first responders, and victims of the two tragedies.

Tornado survivors say, “You could feel the pressure drop as the windows blew in” and “I don’t remember the siren. I just remember screaming and screaming.”

They all agree that a tornado sounds like a train, and you can feel it shaking the earth.

The second half of the film focuses on the shooting. Victims talk about running for their lives and trying to cover loved ones while the shooter “was just walking... and shooting at anything and everything that moved.”

The film’s subtitle is “The Rise from Tragedy,” and the movie is quick to point out just how fast Daytonians pulled together in the wake of those events.

During a Q&A after the premier, Editor Haley Celeste talked about how moved she was by the people her team interviewed:“Anybody that we interviewed was so ready to tell the story of Dayton, and especially ready to include how strong the city was. So, it was just through and through Dayton Strong.”

You can watch “Dayton’s Darkest Summer: The Rise from Tragedy” on YouTube.


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