Police: 2 officers killed responding to 911 call; suspect held

Authorities investigate the scene of a shooting where two Westerville, Ohio, police officers were shot and killed responding to a hang-up 911 call, on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli were shot around noon after entering the residence in the Columbus suburb. (Tom Dodge/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)
Authorities investigate the scene of a shooting where two Westerville, Ohio, police officers were shot and killed responding to a hang-up 911 call, on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli were shot around noon after entering the residence in the Columbus suburb. (Tom Dodge/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

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."

 

This undated photo provided by the City of Westerville, Ohio, shows Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, who was fatally shot while responding to a hang-up 911 call on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Officer Eric Joering, 39, was also killed in the incident. (City of Westerville via AP)
This undated photo provided by the City of Westerville, Ohio, shows Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, who was fatally shot while responding to a hang-up 911 call on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Officer Eric Joering, 39, was also killed in the incident. (City of Westerville via AP)
This undated photo provided by the City of Westerville, Ohio, shows Officer Eric Joering, 39, who was fatally shot while responding to a hang-up 911 call on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, was also killed in the incident. (Alan Geho/City of Westerville via AP)
This undated photo provided by the City of Westerville, Ohio, shows Officer Eric Joering, 39, who was fatally shot while responding to a hang-up 911 call on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, was also killed in the incident. (Alan Geho/City of Westerville via AP)

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