One after another for 11 terrifying minutes, neighbors along Goodenough Avenue and Schocalog Road called Copley Township emergency services to report a gunman was loose and people were down.
The sequence of calls, which began seconds before 10:56 a.m. Sunday, provide an eyewitness account to a tragedy that claimed the lives of seven victims and the suspected shooter, Michael E. Hance, 51.
Copley police released the 911 calls Thursday as they continued their investigation of the rampage.
The first caller, a woman on Goodenough whose husband went outside when the shooting began, told the police dispatcher in a calm, firm voice, “Someone’s running around the neighborhood shooting a gun.”
The woman, still calm and in control, said she thought the shooter was on foot.
But within seconds her voice took on an urgent tone as she yelled to her children, “Get down on the floor, you guys!”
In the calls that followed, women could be heard screaming and children could be heard crying in the background as dispatchers tried to piece together the details.
The sixth caller, a man on Schocalog who apparently was watching events unfold through his bathroom window, was the first to provide a solid description of the shooter.
“I have someone outside my neighbor’s home with a gun. He fired it into the air,” the caller said.
Seconds later, he told the dispatcher, “Before that, a kid came running into the neighbor’s house screaming for help.
“The gentleman was circling the house, but I don’t see him right now from my bathroom window.”
By 11:03 a.m., police had a description of the shooter.
The man on Schocalog said the gunman was “a white male with a blue-striped shirt and jeans on.”
Dispatchers relayed this information to officers on the scene.
“I’m afraid for the neighbors,” he quickly added. “They let him in the house, so I don’t know ...”
His voice trailed off.
Seconds after 11:04 a.m., a dispatcher told a woman calling from Goodenough that officers were “in the area trying to apprehend the suspect.”
By the time the 11th emergency call came in, shortly after 11:07 a.m., a dispatcher told a female caller in a harried voice:
“Ma’am, the officers are with the shooter right now, OK? They have to take care of that before they can get to the victims so no one else gets shot, OK?”
The second call
Transcripts and audio of all of the calls provided by police can be found on the Beacon Journal’s website, Ohio.com, with the continuing stories on the Copley Township shootings.
The following phone call received at 10:56 a.m. Sunday was identified by Copley police as the second call to 911, and offers the first clear idea of the gravity of the situation.
A man who appears to have come upon the earliest shootings is trying to describe the scene; a distraught female can be heard in the background.
Before the dispatcher answers the call, the 911 system records incoming sounds.
Background: “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God.”
Dispatcher: “911, where is your emergency?”
Male caller: “911, I want to report a shooting.
Dispatcher: “Where at?”
Background: “Oh my God” followed by unintelligible statement.
Caller: “On Goodenough.”
Background: Panicked screaming.
Dispatcher: “We’ve got one at (address deleted) Good-enough. Is that right?”
Caller: “Uh, yeah, I would believe so.”
Dispatcher: “Is this your house or what’s going on?”
Background: Panicked screaming.
Caller: “This is my house number.”
Dispatcher: “And who’s involved in this?”
Caller: “Um… um…”
Background: Panicked screaming, “Oh my God, oh my God.”
Dispatcher: “Hello, sir.....”
Caller: “Yes, no, I’m not involved in it.”
Dispatcher: “Well who’s in the background screaming and yelling?”
Background: “He’s got (unintelligible). Oh my God.”
Dispatcher: “Who’s in the background screaming and yelling?”
Caller: “I’m really not sure.” (nervous laughter.)
Dispatcher: “What do you mean, you’re not sure, sir? There’s somebody yelling right there in the same room as you.”
Caller to person in background: “Who are you?”
Background: “Mike… What? Dieter, and Johnson residence. Oh my God.” Another dispatcher also can be heard broadcasting an address.
Caller: “It’s the Dieter, the Dieter household.”
Dispatcher: “The Dieter house, OK. Is anybody injured do you know?”
Background: “Oh my God.” Additional panicked statements.
Caller: “I believe that one person has been shot and it’s a kid and I believe they’re all high school age.”
Background: “Where’s my…”
Dispatcher: “Do we know who the shooter is and where the shooter is?”
Caller: “Um, I believe it’s someone’s boyfriend.”
Dispatcher: “Do we know where this guy is right now?”
Background: “Oh my God, oh my God.”
Background: “God we need ambulances. Where’s the police?”
Background: “Oh my God.
Dispatcher: “Now you’re at (address deleted)? Is that where I’m sending the ambulance?”
Caller: “No, I am down the road. I’m at (address deleted) Schocalog Road.”
Dispatcher: “OK, all right, we are on the way, sir, OK?”
Dispatcher: “So you don’t know where the shooter is at this time?”
Caller: “No, not right now.”
Dispatcher: “Do you know what type of weapon was used?”
Caller: “I have no idea.”
Dispatcher: “All right, I’m going to answer these other calls, and thank you so much.”
Background: “Oh my God there’s people…
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also contributing to this report were Beacon Journal staff writers Marilyn Miller, Mary Beth Breckenridge, Carol Biliczky, Jim Mackinnon, Lisa Abraham, Katie Byard, Bob Downing and Dave Scott.