COPLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio - A touching memorial is now in place to remember the seven people who were shot and killed in August in Copley Township. The names and pictures of the victims are etched on the black, granite bench, which was placed in Copley Circle near the intersection of Copley Road and Cleveland-Massillon Road.
An inscription on the 4-foot long bench reads, "Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."
The bench and the engraving was donated by David and Kim Joyce, the owners of Midwest Everlasting Memorials and Midwest Engraving of Wadsworth. They both graduated from Copley High School and felt the need to do something to honor the lives lost.
David used a laser to engrave the likeness of the victims on the bench and said it was a very emotional process.
"Whenever I put each one of those faces on the granite, each one of them brings a tear to your eye. It's hard to do," David said.
Hummel Funeral Homes also helped with the memorial's design and paid for some of the costs.
"I think it's a great tribute for the Copley community for the grieving process," Kim said.
The victims of the shooting spree were Russell Johnson, 67; his wife, Gudron Johnson, 64; their son Bryan Johnson, 44; his daughter, Autumn Johnson, 16; her friend Amelia Shambaugh, 16; Craig Dieter, 51; and his son Scott, 11.
Copley patrolman Ben Campbell ended the rampage when he shot and killed the gunman, Michael Hance.
Campbell believes the memorial helps with the healing.
"It will always be with me. I think about it less and less, but I'm glad that they're (the victims) going to be remembered and I hope it never happens again," Campbell said.
Last Saturday, relatives of the victims got to see the bench for the first time during a private ceremony.
Charles Huston, the grandfather of Amelia Shambaugh, said the service was touching and the memorial is very meaningful to his family.
"The outpouring from the whole community has just been tremendous and the family has just been very appreciative of all the concern shown by so many people," Huston said.