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Police Work to Determine Motive in Deadly Ohio Shooting Rampage

 

Police are investigating what caused a gunman to go on a deadly shooting rampage in a quiet Ohio town on Sunday, killing seven people and wounding another before dying in a gunfight with police.

The shooting spree ripped through Goodenough Avenue in Copley Township just before 11 a.m. Sunday when police say 51-year-old Michael E. 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. 

Hance then allegedly chased four people -- two through neighboring backyards -- shooting one of them before bursting into a home on nearby Schocalog Road, where two others had sought refuge.

Police said Hance 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. Hance was shot and killed. 

Investigators said Monday they have not yet determined a motive in the deadly rampage. 

"We have no idea what prompted this incident whatsoever," Det. Joe Krunich said during a press conference Monday. Krunich said Hance had no known criminal record. 

Becky Dieter, Hance's girlfriend, survived the attack and remains in a local hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. Her condition is unknown. 

Two of the victims included an 11-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl. Neighbors say at least three victims were from one family.

Gilbert Elie, who has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years, heard the gunshots and cries for help as he got ready for church. In an account that differed slightly from the police version, Elie said he went to a house across the street and found the woman who lived there lying in the driveway, her husband shot near the garage, and their young granddaughter and another woman shot in the front seat of a vehicle, the windows apparently blown out by gunfire.

A third woman came out of the house next door and tried to talk to Elie, he said, but their brief exchange ended abruptly when a man followed her out of the house and shot her, sending the 76-year-old Elie running for safety behind a truck.

"She was talking to me, and he come up behind her and shot her, so I figured, maybe I'm next," he told The Associated Press.

He hid until he could see the gunman was gone, then returned home. Police arrived, and Elie said he heard a second round of shots coming from behind the houses and assumed officers had killed the gunman.

Elie said his neighbors, Russ and Gerdie Johnson, lived across the street. He said the ordeal has left residents of their well-kept neighborhood shaken and wondering why

"They're all in shock," said Elie.

Robin Hancock, who says she was a caregiver for a couple killed in the rampage, said the confrontational behavior of Hance caused her to leave her job. 

Hancock said Hance was an unpleasant and strange person who was not well-liked in the neighborhood.

Hancock, of Akron, said Hance was involved in a dispute that arose recently over the estate of his girlfriend's late parents.

Copley Township is west of Akron and about 40 miles south of Cleveland.

Click here to read more on this story from Fox 8. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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