The Copley Township shooting was a shooting
spree conducted by Michael E. Hance, 51, in Copley Township, Summit
County, Ohio on August 7, 2011. Seven people were shot dead before the
gunman was shot and killed by the police.
Using two handguns, including a Hi-Point .45 ACP, which he bought from
a pawn shop five days before, and a .357 Magnum six-shot revolver he
bought from the same location in 2005, Hance shot his girlfriend,
Rebecca K. Dieter, 49, at 11 a.m. before shooting seven more people.
Dieter is the only victim who survived.
Hance allegedly shot and killed Autumn Johnson, 16, and her
grandparents, Russell Johnson, 67 and Gudrun Johnson, 64. Craig
Dieter, 51 — Rebecca's brother — and Amelia Shambaugh, 16, were also
killed. Hance then chased Bryan Johnson, 44 — the father of Autumn
Johnson — northward, and shot him to death in a nearby driveway.
Hance then followed victim Craig Dieter's son, 11-year-old Scott
Dieter, into a neighboring house where he was then shot and killed. As
Hance was leaving the house, police surrounded him and issued some
commands. He did not obey or go along with the commands, and opened
fire on the officers. The police fired back and Hance was shot and
Copley officer who killed shooting rampage suspect cleared of
By Garrett Downing - NewsNet5.com
September 21, 2011
COPLEY, Ohio - The Copley police officer who shot
and killed a man who was on a shooting rampage through a neighborhood
has been cleared by the Summit County Prosecutor.
Officer Ben Campbell killed 51-year-old Michael
Hance after Hance went on a shooting spree that left seven people dead
and wounded another.
Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh concluded that
Campbell did not violate any state or federal laws, and he had reason
to believe Hance posed an immediate threat to himself and others,
according to a release.
"The U.S. Supreme court has affirmed that police
officers have a constitutional right to use deadly force when they
think a suspect will cause serious physical harm to another person,"
Walsh said in a release. "Officer Campbell had a reasonable and
justifiable belief that Hance would continue to shoot at people after
Hance shot eight people and then refused to comply with police
officers' verbal commands to drop his weapon and surrender."
Walsh also cleared Keith Lavery, a neighbor and
retired police officer, who also shot at Hance.
The incident occurred in the area of Schocalog Road
and Goodenough Avenue on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Those killed by Hance’s shooting spree include:
-Russell Johnson, 67, neighbor
-Gudrun “Gerdie” Johnson, 64, neighbor
-Bryan Johnson, 44, the Johnson’s son
-Autumn Johnson, 16, Bryan Johnson’s daughter
-Amelia Shambaugh, 16, Autumn’s friend
-Craig Dieter, 51, brother of Hance’s girlfriend
-Scott Dieter, 11, son of Craig
Hance's girlfriend, Rebecca Dieter, was also shot
and critically injured.
Copley gunman went to firing range days before deadly shooting rampage
Hance needed instruction on how to fire weapon
By Bob Jones - NewsNet5.com
August 19, 2011
COPLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Copley Township police said
the gunman, who killed seven people and also shot and injured his
girlfriend, visited a Barberton firing range two or three days before
he went on the deadly rampage.
Investigators said Michael Hance went to The
Marksman on Barber Road either August 4 or August 5 and brought with
him a .45 caliber handgun that he had purchased on August 2 from
Sydmor's Jewelry in Barberton.
"(Hance) really didn't know how to use the weapon.
He went to a firing range to practice, but really didn't know how to
use it. He had to be instructed on how to use that weapon," Lt. Luke
Workers at The Marksman declined to comment on
Hance did not act strangely while at the range and
gave no indication that he was planning to harm anyone, police said.
Investigators also revealed a new timeline of the
shootings, based on several witness interviews and 911 calls.
Lt. Marchmon said it appears Craig Dieter, 51, was
shot and killed first, followed by Russell Johnson, 67, and his
64-year-old wife, Gudrun.
Next, Hance shot and killed the Johnson's
granddaughter, Autumn Johnson, 16, and her friend Amelia Shambaugh,
who was also 16.
Hance then chased and gunned down 44-year-old Bryan
Johnson. After that, he shot his girlfriend, Rebecca Dieter, 49, once
or twice in the back. She's the only survivor.
Finally, Hance killed Scott Dieter, 11, who was
hiding in a neighbor's basement.
"Obviously, he was on a mission to destroy those
two families," Marchmon said.
Police are still trying to figure out a motive.
They recently searched Rebecca Dieter's home and
found several rambling notes written by Hance. In some of the notes,
Hance seemed obsessed with cancer.
"In his own way, he was trying to research and to
find methods to help cure cancer," Marchmon said.
However, the notes did not point to a clear motive
and Hance did not write about hurting his girlfriend's family or the
next door neighbors.
Investigators believe Hance had a delusional
disorder, but was never treated.
Detectives have talked with his relatives, who had
suggested to Hance that he get help for depression, but he refused and
insisted he could rely on herbal remedies.
"Trying to get into his mind is just very, very
difficult," Marchmon said.
Investigators tracked a couple of minor
disagreements that Hance had with the Johnson family dating back at
least one year.
In one instance, the family asked Hance to stop
using a rototiller at midnight. In another incident, Hance apparently
became angry when a child in the Johnson family was shooting a BB gun
near the home where Hance was living with his girlfriend.
But nothing explains why Hance resorted to murder.
"Who does that because they have a dispute with a
neighbor or they're upset with a neighbor?" Marchmon asked.
The key to getting possible answers may rest with
Rebecca Dieter. She remains in Akron City Hospital and police have not
been able to question her.
Hance was shot and killed by Copley Township police
officer Ben Campbell. He remains on leave, which is standard procedure
in a police-involved shooting.
The Summit County Sheriff's Department continues to
investigate Campbell's use of deadly force.
Copley Township Police Chief Mike Mier said
Campbell's actions probably saved other lives that day.
Copley shooter Michael Hance was eccentric, but
also helpful to neighbors in Akron
By John Caniglia - The Plain Dealer
August 9, 2011
AKRON, Ohio -- Residents of Minota Avenue weren't
likely to forget their neighbor Mike Hance even before Sunday.
The 51-year-old who hunted down and shot to death
seven people and wounded his longtime girlfriend during a 10-minute
rampage in Copley Township was eccentric in ways hard to ignore.
Some said he was just a quiet guy. Others called
him an oddball.
"He was strange," said Ralph Petz, a neighbor who
has lived across the street for years and was friendly with him.
Neighbors and people who knew Hance said he had
compulsions that may have hinted at shades of mental illness.
He would place a kayak in the driveway and pretend
to paddle. He would stock up on herbs and roots from a local health
food store and make concoctions that would have him buzzing around.
Once, he repeatedly dug up his small yard with a Rototiller only to
leave it without planting grass.
After the shootings Sunday, neighbors saw a line of
police cars pulled up to the gray, two-story Minota home owned by
Hance's girlfriend Becky Dieter and shared by the couple for several
years. After obtaining a search warrant, police broke a window on the
A neighbor said officers seized at least one
computer and some type of writing Hance had been working on.
Officers stayed until about 6 p.m. and left,
boarding up the house behind them. The couple spent time in both the
Akron and Copley Township homes.
Copley police at a news conference Monday were not
clear on what sparked the shooting.
Dieter is at a local hospital. Police have been
unable to speak with her.
In late May 2009, Akron police were called to the
home on Minota for some sort of crisis intervention for a man with
apparent mental health issues, but no report was made, police said.
Hance did not have a criminal record. His only
other documented interaction with police occurred in 1997 in Akron,
where he lived for years. He confronted an intoxicated neighbor who
messed with his truck. He told police the man threatened him with a
But some say he may have had mounting stress in his
life. He had helped care for Dieter's ailing father, who had dementia.
And he was unemployed after he lost his job when a copy store in Akron
Dieter, his girlfriend of more than 20 years,
mostly stayed at her parents' home on Goodenough Road in Copley
Township, a house that she and Hance were supposed to be fixing up for
sale, friends and neighbors there said. They said Hance had a tense
relationship with next-door neighbors Russell and Gudrun "" Johnson,
who didn't like the disrepair the Dieter's house was falling into or
the odd hours of the night that Hance would be up working loudly on
The two homes were only separated by a gravel
Sandy Haught, another neighbor on Minota, said
Hance told her that he didn't like living in Copley.
But he appeared to love Dieter.
Often, Haught said, they would see him follow her
down the street in his robe as she drove off to work, blowing kisses
Robin Hancock, who said she worked alongside Hance
as a caregiver for Dieter's parents, the mother, Helen, who died in
2008, and father Wayne, who died the following year, said he was
obsessive about his health and would frequent the Mustard Seed Market
in Akron where he would stock up on health items. She said he would
also carry around stacks of books and was ready to launch into a
lecture on whatever current topic he was fixated on.
"He seemed to always be busy with something but
never got anything done," Hancock said.
She said her quarrels with Hance and the mood he
brought to the Dieter home caused her to quit as a caregiver several
months before Wayne Dieter died in 2009. Hancock said she had worked
for the family for more than three years.
Hance's parents both died in 2006 and their small
estate was split evenly between Hance and a sister, who lives in
Mogadore, according to the lawyer who handled the estate. She declined
to talk to a reporter Monday.
Cliff Woodruff, who graduated with Hance from
Norton High School in 1978 said he remembers his classmate as tall and
quiet, but very sweet-natured.
Hance was even voted the "most courteous" guy at
the school. The yearbook shows him opening the door for another
And shades of that helpful Mike Hance still seemed
to exist on Minota.
Hance helped his fellow neighbors with cars stuck
in the snow and dead engines.
Once he ran out in freezing weather wearing only a
bathrobe to help Petz push his car out of a drift.
Hance was out often, mostly fixing pickups that he
parked in the driveway and backyard.
Hance's next door neighbor, Daryl McCraney, said he
was stunned by the shooting.
He said Hance often helped him with an engine in
the middle of winter.
"He was just a regular old neighbor," McCraney
Petz said he saw Hance for the last time Thursday
doing yard work. He said Hance appeared to have a faraway look on his
face while he wore some type of a helmet to protect his face.
Woodruff said when word spread among graduates of
Norton -- just a short hop from Copley -- that the killer was one of
their classmates, nobody thought of Hance as the likely shooter.
"He was just one of those people, it might sound
clich but he was just friendly," Woodruff said. "But something sure
changed, I guess."
Police name suspect in Ohio shooting spree
By Leigh Remizowski - CNN.com
August 8, 2011
Police have identified Michael E. Hance, 51, as the
suspect behind a shooting rampage in Ohio on Sunday in which a man
gunned down seven people before police killed him.
Hance allegedly shot his girlfriend, Rebecca
Dieter, 49, at the home they shared at about 11 a.m. before running
through his Copley Township neighborhood and claiming six other
victims, police said at a news conference on Monday.
"No words can adequately express the loss
experienced by the families of the victims and the community at
large," said Copley Township Police Chief Michael Mier. He described
the community, which lies about seven miles west of Akron, as having a
very low violent crime rate.
Dieter is the only victim who survived the shooting
spree. She is currently at a local hospital after suffering multiple
gunshot wounds, Mier said.
The spree continued at an adjacent house where
Hance allegedly shot and killed Autumn Johnson, 16, and her
grandparents, Russell Johnson, 67 and Gudrun Johnson, 64, according to
detective Joe Krunich.
Craig Dieter, 51 -- Rebecca's brother -- and an
unidentified 16-year-old were also killed at the second crime scene.
Krunich said Hance then chased Bryan Johnson, 44 --
the father of Autumn Johnson -- northward, where he was shot to death
in a nearby driveway.
He then followed victim Craig Dieter's son,
11-year-old Scott Dieter, into a neighboring house where he was then
shot and killed, Krunich said.
As Hance was leaving the house, police surrounded
the shooter "and issued some commands," Mier said. "The suspect did
not obey or go along with the commands, and the suspect was shot," he
Authorities said Hance used two handguns in the
"We have no idea what prompted this incident
whatsoever," Krunich said.
Residents held a candlelight vigil Sunday evening,
according to CNN affiliate WJW-TV.
One neighbor said residents were shocked and
baffled by the shooting and would likely never get a full explanation.
"The killer's gone. We'll never
know," the neighbor said.
Gunman among 8 dead in shooting rampage in Copley Township
By Mike Waterhouse - NewsNet5.com
August 7, 2011
COPLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio - Police in Copley Township
said a family argument sparked by an out-of-town guest's visit led to
a shooting rampage that left a woman shot and eight others dead --
including the gunman -- in the northeast Ohio suburb Sunday morning.
The shooting spree started just before 11 a.m.
Sunday at a house in the 2300 block of Goodenough Avenue. Copley
Township is located just outside of Akron, Ohio and 40 miles south of
Copley Police Chief Michael Mier spelled out this
chain of events in a news release sent out late Sunday night:
1) Gunman shoots girlfriend (it's believed several
people were in the house at the time)
2) Gunman runs to adjacent house, confronts
girlfriend's brother and then shoots the brother and four bystanders
at the home
3) Gunman chases two more bystanders through some
backyards, shooting one of them outside a house on Schocalog. This
house is where two other people the gunman was chasing were hiding.
4) Gunman enters home and shoots one person and
5) Gunman shoots at police officer and another
citizen -- and is shot and killed by the officer.
In all, police said there were four different crime
scenes as a result of the shootings.
Mier said the gunman shot eight people, killing
seven of them including an 11-year-old child. A woman who was survived
is in the intensive care unit at Akron General Hospital.
Two of the victims were students at Copley-Fairlawn
High School, the district's superintendent Brian Poe confirmed Monday.
Grief counselors will be on hand at the Copley-Fairlawn High School in
the auxiliary gym beginning at 11 a.m. The first day of school in the
district is Aug. 25.
Investigators said the initial 911 calls were
reports of a person running through the neighborhood firing a gun and
"moving quickly about the area." Police said at one point during the
calls, it became clear several people had been shot.
The citizen who was with the police officer when
the gunman exited the last house was a former police officer who was
helping the officer locate the shooter.
Neighbor Patricia Kirby told NewsChannel5 that her
brother lived next door to the home, and after hearing shots he and
his son ran to the house and pounded on the door unsuccessfully tried
to rescue their neighbors inside. Neighbors said -- unconfirmed by
police -- that a dispute over a home improvement project sparked the
A bench honoring victims of the Copley shootings.