Ohio police chief weeps for officers killed on duty

The suspect is in custody 

Mythili Sampathkumar
New York
Sunday 11 February 2018 18:27
Police chief Joe Mortbitzer weeps as he pays tributes to killed Ohio officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli

Westerville, Ohio, police chief Joe Mortbitzer gave a tearful tribute to two police officers killed while responding to a 911 call.

Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, were fatally shot during the middle of the day after checking on a potential domestic situation in the Columbus, Ohio suburb.

Mr Morbitzer said the officers were "true American heroes" who "gave their lives in defence of others".

"These were two of the best we have. This was their calling, and they did it right," he said.

According to a neighbour, the couple who lived in the home where the officers were killed had moved in approximately eight months ago.

Police had come to the home numerous times since then, responding to loud arguments and fighting.

Mr Morbitzer said the officers were "immediately met with gunfire" as he choked back his tears.

Neighbours said they heard five to six shots.

The suspect, Quentin Lamar Smith, is in custody at this time.

A police spokesperson said that Mr Smith was wounded when police returned fire but his condition has not been disclosed as yet.

“They knew how to do policing the right way, both of them,” Mr Morbitzer said, adding that “both gave their lives for the protection of others, and that’s what they lived and breathed.”

US President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences, and Ohio Governor John Kasich said on Twitter that he was “saddened to learn of the deaths of two of my hometown police officers.”

“Everyone should be as upset about this as America’s law enforcement officers are. No cop, anywhere, ‘signed up’ to be murdered,” New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill tweeted.

Mr Morelli had been with the police force for nearly 30 years and Mr Joering was an officer for 16 years.

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