One year ago today, seven people were killed by gunman Michael Hance in a quiet Copley neighborhood. Hance was killed by Copley police at the end of his shooting rampage.
Elizabeth Schmeltzer, co-owner of a flower shop on Copley Circle, says the 2011 shootings are still on people's minds, as are the victims.
"We didn't think something like this would happen, and it did," Schmeltzer tells AkronNewsNow.com. "So every day, most everybody I talk to is always trying to keep the families and friends in their thoughts and their prayers every day."
Copley Township police chief Michael Mier tells AkronNewsNow.com that the community has supported his officers, as well as those affected...
"And they're so supportive. They always seem to come together to help those folks and the family of those folks," Chief Mier says. "And this was just another example of how this community comes together."
The community will come together tonight at Copley Community Park at 7 PM...in what's being called a celebration of lives, with a balloon release to honor the seven victims.
Elizabeth Schmeltzer says the victims of last year's shooting will always be remembered.
"People are still sad, especially the people that were close to the people who were involved," Schmeltzer says. "It's something we think about, a lot of the businesses in this area are putting up signs that says 'Copley Never Forgets'."
Schmeltzer now lives in Rittman, but says her family and business ties to her hometown of Copley still run deep.
A permanent memorial has been put in place for the victims of the mass shooting in Copley Township.
The bench sits at the eastern edge of Copley Circle featuring the pictures of the seven victims killed in the township on August 7th.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports the black granite bench was donated by Hummel Funeral Homes and Midwest Engraving and Midwest Everlasting Memories of Wadsworth.
The bench was dedicated Saturday in a private ceremony attended by 15 family members.
A quote on the bench reads: ``Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.''
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