Gunman among 8 dead in shooting rampage in Copley Township

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 Cleveland.

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 leaves home

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 shooting spree.

Residents in Copley Township held a prayer vigil Sunday night in honor of the shooting victims.

Police have not released any names yet, but family members and friends gave us some of the victim's names during the vigil Sunday evening:
- Autumn Johnson, 17 (Copley High School student)
- Russ Johnson (Autumn's grandfather)
- Gertie Johnson (Autumn's grandmother)
- Brian Johnson (Son or Russ & Gertie)
- Scotty Deiter, 11

Police said they don't plan to release more information before a news conference Monday at noon.

In addition to the Copley Police Department, these law enforcement agencies assisted in the investigation: Akron Police Department, Fairlawn Police Department, Summit County Sheriff's Department, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

About 14,000 people live in Copley Township.

NewsChannel5 will continue to follow this developing story. Keep checking newsnet5.com for more information.

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