by Will Price, ’18
Tragedy struck in Westerville, Ohio when two police officers were killed responding to a call Feb. 11.
Officers Anthony Morelli, 54, and Eric Joering, 39, were shot while entering an apartment to investigate a possible domestic incident. Morelli had been with the Westerville Police Department for 29 years, Joering for 16.
Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer said the officers were “two of the best we have,” in a news conference held on the day of the shooting.
The two officers were honored by much of Central Ohio in the aftermath of their deaths. At a vigil held in honor of the two policemen in Westerville on Tuesday, Feb. 13, it was announced that a memorial would be built at First Responders Park in their memory.
A GoFundMe to support the families of the officers exceeded its initial goal of $500,000 in less than three weeks, and has over $600,000 to date.
The event garnered national attention, as President Donald Trump tweeted out his thoughts to the fallen officers, calling it a “true tragedy.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the two police officers, their families, and everybody at the Westerville Police Department,” Trump said in a tweet the day of the shooting.
“Just spoke to John Kasich to express condolences and prayers to all for the horrible shooting of two great police officers from Westerville Police Department. This is a true tragedy!” Trump tweeted the next day.
Quentin Smith was arrested shortly after the shootings on Feb. 11. He is awaiting trial, where he could face the death penalty for killing those in the line of duty.