The 2011 Copley Township Shooting

Michael Hance
Michael Hance

A mass murder was 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 Copley police officer Ben Campbell.

Details

Using two handguns, including a Hi-Point Model JHP .45-caliber pistol, which he bought from Sydmor’s Jewelry in neighboring Barberton, Ohio five days before, and a .357 Magnum six-shot revolver he bought from the same location in 2005, Hance opened fire at a house in the 2300 block of Goodenough Avenue. He first shot his 49-year-old girlfriend Rebecca K. Dieter, who was the only survivor in the shooting. Dieter managed to call 9-1-1 before escaping to the porch of her house and being shot again in the back, after which she pretended to be dead.

He then ran into an adjacent house, where he shot and killed Dieter’s brother Craig; Autumn Johnson, 16; her grandparents, Russell Johnson, 67, and Gudrun Johnson, 64; and Amelia Shambaugh, 16, who was visiting a friend at the time and was seated in her parked car when she was shot. Hance then chased Autumn Johnson’s father, 44-year-old Bryan Johnson, northward, and shot him to death in a nearby driveway on Schocalog Road.

He next followed Craig’s son, 11-year-old Scott, into a house on the same street. There, Hance found Scott hiding behind a furnace in the basement with the home’s current residents, Melonie Bagley and her three children (nine-year-old Dae’Shawn, three-year-old Destany, and a one-year-old daughter). Bagley tried to deny that Scott was with her before fleeing with her daughters. Hance found Scott and Dae’Shawn, shooting and killing the former while leaving the Bagley family alive.

As Hance was leaving the house, Officer Ben Campbell spotted him along with former Copley Township policeman Keith Lavery. Together, they issued commands, which Hance ignored, raising his gun instead and firing shots at them. In response, Campbell and Lavery shot at Hance with rounds from Campbell’s rifle, ultimately killing Hance.

Perpetrator

Michael E. Hance, a 51-year-old male, was identified as the gunman in the shooting. He was described as extremely helpful but also quiet, strange, eccentric, and “not well-liked” by residents of Copley Township. Acquaintances stated that he had “compulsions” that seemed to hint at a previously un-diagnosed mental illness. He graduated from Norton High School in 1978 and was voted the “most courteous” student in the class.

In 1997, Hance contacted police about a man threatening him with a gun when he went out to confront him for vandalizing his truck. He had recently been forced to care for Dieter’s father, who was suffering from dementia, and lost his job at a copy store after it was closed down. He was also having tense relations with Russell and Gudrun Johnson, who were his next-door neighbors. On one occasion, he was told by Gudrun to clean up his property, only for her to be forced away by him. He is currently survived by a sister who lives in Mogadore, Ohio.

Prior to the shooting, Hance became involved in a dispute with Craig Dieter over him and Rebecca Dieter moving into a house he planned to sell. At the time of the shooting, Craig and his family had traveled to Copley Township from their home in Walton, Kentucky, to discuss the property dispute and were staying with Russell and Gudrun Johnson at the time.

Victims

Name Age Relationship Notes
Rebecca K. Dieter 49 Hance’s girlfriend Shot at her and Hance’s home, the only survivor of the shooting
Craig Brian Eric Dieter 51 Rebecca’s brother Shot at Russell and Gudrun Johnson’s home
Autumn Marie Johnson 16 Russell and Gudrun’s granddaughter Shot at her grandparents’ home
Russell Lee Johnson 67 Autumn’s grandfather Shot at his and Gudrun’s home
Gudrun Marie Scheiner Johnson 64 Autumn’s grandmother Shot at her and Russell’s home
Amelia Lynn Shambaugh 16 Unknown Shot at Russell and Gudrun Johnson’s home
Bryan Richard Johnson 44 Autumn’s father Shot on Schocalog Road
Scott Calvin Dieter 11 Craig’s son Shot inside a home on Schocalog Road

Source

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