Police: 2 officers killed responding to 911 call; suspect held
WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Two Ohio police officers responding to a 911 hang-up call were fatally shot on Saturday after entering a townhome 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, Anthony Morelli, 54, died at a local hospital.
Morbitzer said the officers were responding to a "potential domestic situation." A neighbor who heard the gunfire said it happened at a home where the occupants were "always arguing and fighting."
"The officers gave their lives in defense of others," Morbitzer said during a news conference, struggling to keep his emotions in check. He called them "true American heroes."
Police provided no details about the suspect during a brief news conference. Authorities said the suspect was wounded and was treated at a hospital.
The Columbus Police Department is investigating the shootings.
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 Donald Trump tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers are with the two police officers, their families, and everybody at the @WestervillePD."
Joering was a 16-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."
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