Two Ohio Policemen Responding to 911 Call Are Fatally Shot

Police Shooting Tom Dodge, AP
Tom Dodge/AP

Suburban Columbus, Ohio’s Westerville Police Department lost two officers Saturday when a suspect opened fire as they arrived to respond to a hung up 911 call.

Officer Eric Joering, 39, died at the scene. His partner, Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, made it to the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center before succumbing to his wounds. According to Columbus CBS affiliate WBNS, the two veteran officers had been on the force 16 and 29 years respectively.

The suspect is in custody, but nothing about his identity has been made public. His motive is also unclear, but Cinncinati.com reported that it may have been a “potential” domestic violence situation.

Westerville police Chief Joe Morbitzer told reporters the two policemen were “immediately met with gunfire,” when they arrived at an apartment at 12:10 p.m., minutes after their department received a 911 call that quickly hung up. “The officers gave their lives in defense of others,” Morbitzer continued, calling his officers “true American heroes.”

“These were two of the best we had, this was their calling and they did it right, they knew how to do policing the right way, both of them,” Morbitzer said.

Joering once made headlines for his kindness in the line of duty when he bought lunch for a homeless man about whom “suspicious person” calls had been made.

Ohio’s leading politicians of both parties offered their condolences on hearing the tragic news. Governor John Kaisch, who lives in Westerville, tweeted:

President Donald Trump also offered his thoughts and prayers:

Both victims are survived by their families, and Ohio Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9 set up a GoFundMe to raise money for their support. The fundraiser quickly reached its $50,000 goal.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Joering and Morelli are at least the 14th and 15th police officers killed in the line of duty in the United States in 2018. The figure for 2017 was 129 killed.

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