Police ID Ohio rampage shooter

Family argument ended in shooting deaths in two locations; Police eventually killed gunman

By Kevin Begos and Andrew Welsh-Huggins
Associated Press

COPLEY, Ohio — Police on Monday identified the man responsible for shooting and killing 7 people in a rampage over the weekend in this small Ohio town, and a woman who knew him said he was an unpleasant, disliked person who was involved in an estate dispute.

Michael Hance, 51, was named as the gunman in Sunday's killings in Copley, and he died in a shootout with police.

Robin Hancock came to the police station in this northeast Ohio community on Monday to hear updates on the slayings that left eight dead, including Hance.

"He was quiet and strange," said Hancock, 53, of Akron.

Hancock was a caregiver for a couple slain in the rampage, and said Hance's confrontational behavior caused her to leave her job.

One shooting victim who survived was Becky Dieter, Hance's girlfriend of more than two decades, she said.

Hancock said Hance had become embroiled in a dispute over the will of Dieter's late parents, and that a next-door couple who were long-time friends with Dieter's parents had gotten involved.

That couple were among the seven whom police say Hance shot and killed.

Police combed through three homes and searched outside a fourth in a wooded, residential area outside Akron on Sunday, collecting evidence as they tried to piece together what happened during the shootings that shook a quiet neighborhood.

Authorities were withholding the names and ages of those involved until officers could tell victims' family members, some of whom were out of state, Copley police Sgt. Eric Goodwin said. Autopsies began Monday.

The tragedy began before 11 a.m. when police say Hance shot his girlfriend in one home, then ran to a next-door neighbor's house, where he shot her brother and gunned down four neighbors. He then chased four people — two through neighboring backyards — shooting one of them before bursting into a home on a nearby road, where two others had sought refuge.

Police said he shot his eighth victim in that home and left, only to get into a gunfight outside with a police officer and a citizen who had been a police officer.

Neighbors said the dead included an 11-year-old boy and that at least three victims were from one family. A school official said he was told two victims were students at the local high school.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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