Behind Ohio Gunman's Rampage: Property Dispute

Michael Hance cornered, killed girlfriend's 11-year-old nephew, 6 others
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 9, 2011 9:07 AM CDT
This photograph of a projected image shown at a police news conference in Copley, Ohio Monday, Aug. 8, 2011, shows Michael E. Hance.   (Phil Long)
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(Newser) – A gunman who killed seven people during a weekend rampage in his Ohio neighborhood cornered one of his victims, his girlfriend's 11-year-old nephew, in the basement of a house, ordered out the family sheltering the boy and then shot him, police said yesterday. Michael Hance's cold-blooded killing of such a young victim after stalking seven other people on a suburban Akron street was, neighbors said, the culmination of a dispute over a home that once belonged to his girlfriend's parents. Hance had recently grown angry over residents' comments about the property where he lived with his girlfriend, Becky Dieter, a neighbor said.

About a month ago, Hance's next-door neighbor, Gudrun Johnson, had asked him to clean up the property, which included a broken-down car on blocks. Hance was enraged by her request, "He said, 'Get off my property and don't come back,'" a neighbor recounted. Johnson, 64, was killed in the attack, along with her husband, adult son, and 16-year-old granddaughter and her friend. Becky Dieter's brother and his 11-year-old son also died. Dieter, the gunman's longtime girlfriend, was shot but survived and remains hospitalized.

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