Victims' families, police still coping with Copley shooting spree one year later

Memorial service planned for Tuesday at park

COPLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio - One year after a deadly shooting rampage in Copley Township, Officer Ben Campbell doesn't have any second thoughts or flashbacks to his split-second decision to kill gunman Michael Hance.

"The bottom line is, I did what I was supposed to do. I haven't had any sleepless nights," Campbell said.

Hance, 51, shattered the calm of a peaceful and sunny Sunday morning, when he began murdering people in Copley Township neighborhoods near the Akron border on Aug. 7, 2011.

Hance used two guns, including a semi-automatic .45 caliber handgun that he bought at a pawn shop five days earlier, to murder seven people, including three children, before he was shot and killed. Hance's girlfriend, Rebecca Dieter, was shot in the back and was the sole survivor.

"It's always going to be something I'm going to remember. It's always going to be something that Copley remembers. It's a tragedy," Campbell said.

Hance shot and killed Autumn Johnson, 16, her father, Bryan Johnson, 44, her grandparents, Russell Johnson, 67, and Gudrun Johnson, 64, along with Craig Dieter, 51, (Rebecca's brother), Scott Dieter, 11, (Craig's son), and Amelia Shambaugh, 16, Autumn's high school friend.

Shambaugh's grandfather, Charles Huston, said each day since the tragedy is a loss for the family. He remembers his granddaughter as a bubbly girl, full of life and an animal lover.

"It's just been a devastating blow to the family. Each of us is trying to move forward as best we can. When you lose the future, there's no getting it back," Huston said.

Hance lived with Rebecca Dieter next door to the Johnson family and police learned there had been a dispute between Russell Johnson and Hance over the upkeep of the Dieter home. However, police haven't determined if that dispute set off Hance. A motive for the shootings remains a mystery.

Copley Township Police Chief Mike Mier said the tragedy remains on the minds of many people in this normally quiet Summit County community.

"I think the hardest part about dealing with this is the fact that we lost some very good folks from our community. There are a lot of folks throughout the entire community that were deeply affected by this," Mier explained.

A memorial and balloon launch is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Copley Community Park to mark the one-year anniversary.

Officer Campbell, who received national, state and local awards for his actions that day, plans to be at the vigil to honor the victims.

"I would give all of that (the awards) back if it would just have never happened," Campbell said.

Watch for more reaction to the one-year anniversary of the Copley shootings tonight on NewsChannel5 at 6.

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