Copley Honors Shooting Victims 1 Year Later
COPLEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Exactly one year after a shooting spree that left seven people dead in Copley Township, flags around the community are at half-staff.
For reasons we may never really know why Michael Hance opened fire on four members of the Johnson family, Amelia Shambaugh, 16, who was visiting, Craig Deter, 51, and Scott Deter, 11, who he ran down in a basement on nearby Shocalog Street.
Gilbert Elie heard the shots
“Like ‘pow pow pow’, I said too strong for a firecracker so I listened and again I heard ‘pow, pow,pow.’ I said that ain’t no firecracker that’s a gun,” said Elie.
Elie ran to find the bodies of five of his neighbors, and witnessed Hance shoot his girlfriend, Rebecca Deter, in the back
“I said ‘Hey has anybody called 911.’ My head stayed there, my feet took off.”
The shooting spree ended when Officer Ben Campbell, without backup, confronted Hance in the street.
“I gave two verbal commands, ‘Drop your weapon, drop your weapon.’ He looked at me real startled. I’ll never forget the crazed look in his eyes, turned toward me raised the weapon a little bit and started to run. At that point I fired three times,” says Officer Campbell
Hance was shot twice and died. For his actions, Officer Campbell has since been decorated as one of the country’s top officers.
In the year since the shooting, residents of Copley are closer than ever. However in the neighborhood the houses of the victims have been empty. Residents say the recovery has been difficult.
“It’s gradually coming back but I don’t ever think it’s going to be the same,” says Elie.
“I think we are going to remember and respect the victims and the families and always remember that, it will always be a sad day to a degree,” says Officer Campbell.
“Copley is a beautiful community, and a great community, in which to live and work and go to school and it always will be this was an isolated incident, but it was an incident we will always remember,” said Chief Michael Mier.