A man gunned down two people outside an Ohio home and two more in a car Sunday morning, then shot his girlfriend in a rampage that left eight dead including the gunman, who was shot by police, authorities and witnesses said.
Two others were wounded, police said. A child was among those shot, witnesses said, though police wouldn't confirm that. Investigators were trying to piece together what happened at four crime scenes, Copley police Chief Michael Mier said.
A neighbor, Gilbert Elie, said he was getting ready for church when he heard gunshots and cries for help in his northeast Ohio neighborhood, a wooded, residential area outside Akron. He went to a house across the street and said he found a shocking scene: the woman who lived there lying in the driveway, her husband shot near the garage, and their young granddaughter and another woman shot in the front seat of a vehicle, the windows apparently blown out by gunfire.
A third woman came out of the house next door and tried to talk to Elie, he said, but their brief exchange ended abruptly when a man followed her out of the house and shot her, sending the 75-year-old Elie running for safety behind a truck.
"She was talking to me, and he come up behind her and shot her, so I figured, maybe I'm next," he told The Associated Press.
He hid until he could see the gunman was gone, then returned home. Police arrived, and Elie said he heard a second round of shots coming from behind the houses and assumed officers had killed the gunman.
Elie said the gunman lived with the woman who tried to talk to him. Elie described the gunman as unfriendly, a rarity on a street where most neighbors offer a wave in passing.
He often worked on his car outside his house but never waved at anyone, Elie said.
The names and ages of the victims and the gunman weren't being released until police could tell family members, some of whom are out of state, Copley police Sgt. Eric Goodwin said.
Incident under investigation
Goodwin did not know the conditions of the wounded. Investigators were "still putting things together" as they work the crime scenes, he said.
He gave no more details, including whether the shooter and victims were related, their names or what led to the argument.
"That's still under investigation," he said.
Jeff Kirby of nearby Norton said he was visiting his mother's home a block from the shootings around 10:30 a.m. when he heard gunfire — about 15 shots with several pauses between them.
Kirby, 53, said the last gunfire he heard occurred about the same time he heard sirens in the neighborhood.
The neighborhood remained blocked off by police Sunday. About 200 people assembled at a park around sunset for an impromptu candlelight vigil for the shooting victims in their town and crime victims elsewhere.
The Rev. Jeff Bogue of the Grace Church of Greater Akron prayed with them, saying it's troubling that "such evil would come to our little township." Some residents said they set up a memorial fund.
Copley Township is a town of about 14,000 people is west of Akron and about 40 miles south of Cleveland in northeast Ohio.