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Two Ohio police officers killed responding to 911 call

Investigators check the scene Saturday after the shooting deaths of two police officers in Westerville, Ohio.
(Tom Dodge / Columbus Dispatch)

Two Ohio police officers responding to a 911 hang-up call were fatally shot on Saturday after entering an apartment in a Columbus suburb, and a suspect was taken into custody, authorities said.

Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer said officer Eric Joering, 39, died at the scene and his colleague Tony Morelli, 54, died at a local hospital. He said the officers were responding to a “potential domestic situation.”

“The officers gave their lives in defense of others,” Morbitzer said, struggling to keep his emotions in check. He called the officers “true American heroes.”

Police provided no details about the suspect during a brief news conference. The Columbus Dispatch reported that the suspect was wounded and treated at a hospital.

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Republican Gov. John Kasich, who lives with his family in a nearby township, tweeted that he was “very saddened to learn of the deaths of two of my hometown police officers.” He asked Ohio residents to join him in “lifting up these officers’ families in prayer.”

President Trump tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with the two police officers, their families, and everybody at the @WestervillePD.”

Joering was a 17-year police veteran and Morelli was a 30-year veteran.

“These were two of the best we have,” said Morbitzer. “This was their calling.”

He added that they “both gave their life for the protection of others and that’s what they lived and breathed.”

Westerville, on the northeast side of Columbus, is a suburb of about 39,000 with a per capita income well above the rest of Ohio. It regularly tops lists of the country’s best suburbs.


UPDATES:

4:45 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer.

This article was originally published at 3:25 p.m.


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