Ohio shooting-rampage motive unclear

Ohio police play frantic 911 calls Monday from Sunday's shooting rampage in the normally placid Akron suburb of Copley, naming the suspected gunman but saying his motive is still unclear.
Members of the Copley, Ohio, community hold a candlelight vigil in honour of seven neighbors who were killed Sunday. (Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters)

Ohio police played frantic 911 calls Monday from people who lived through the shooting rampage Sunday that killed eight people — including the suspected shooter — in the normally placid community of Copley.

Copley police Det. Joe Krunich told a news conference that 51-year-old Michael E. Hance, who was shot and killed by police, is the only suspect in the other seven deaths.

Police did not speculate on Hance's motives and said they were likely to learn more Monday and in the coming days.

Hance shot victims at several different locations in the same neighbourhood, police said, with his victims ranging in age from 11 to 67. Copley is a suburban community just west of Akron.

He also allegedly shot his live-in girlfriend, 49-year-old Rebecca K. Dieter, who is at a local hospital with multiple gunshot wounds.

The dead include Dieter's brother and four next-door neighbours.

'Stay in your house'

A recording of the first 911 call, which arrived at 10:55 a.m., included a woman screaming, "Someone is running around the neighbourhood shooting a gun!"

In another call police played back, a woman can be heard saying that a window has been shot out in the house and that she is in the basement.

"Do not go upstairs," the dispatcher says on the recording. "Stay in your house."

Officers arrived on the scene shortly after the first calls came in, police said, and were able to pinpoint the location with the help of further 911 calls.

A police official said the suspect was given "commands," refused to follow them, and was shot by police.

A woman who knew Hance said he was an unpleasant, disliked person who was involved in an estate dispute. Robin Hancock came to the police station in this northeast Ohio community to hear the police updates.

"He was quiet and strange," said Hancock, 53, of Akron.

Hancock was a caregiver for a couple slain in the rampage, and said Hance's confrontational behaviour caused her to leave her job.

Hancock said Hance had become embroiled in a dispute over the will of his girlfriend's late parents, and that a next-door couple who were long-time friends with Dieter's parents had gotten involved.

With files from The Associated Press