Westerville police chief: ‘We move forward by honoring those two fantastic officers’

WESTERVILLE, Ohio-- Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer held a news conference on Tuesday following a shooting that took the lives of two police officers.

Officers Eric Joering, 39 and Anthony Morelli, 54, were shot and killed while responding to a 911 hang-up on Saturday.

Morbitzer thanked Columbus police for handling the investigation, and surrounding police and fire departments for aiding in patrols. He said there has been an outpouring of support from across the community and across the country, including flowers from the New York Yankees and condolences from the Minnesota Vikings.

Mortbitzer also announced the Joering family will be keeping his K-9 partner, Sam.  He said it will help his wife and three little girls during the healing process.

"When he (Joering) became a K-9 officer, it was his dream position," Mortbitzer said. He was emotional as he spoke about Joering's efforts with Cops and Kids, and Morelli's work as a school resource officer and commitment to the Special Olympics.

"We move forward by honoring those two fantastic officers. That's how we move forward," Mortbitzer said.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Ohio Concerns of Police Survivors, a non-profit organization, which is a peer support network.

A vigil is planned for Joering and Morelli Tuesday night. A public visitation will be held at St. Paul the Apostle Church, 313 N. State St., Westerville, on Friday. The visitation starts at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a funeral.

The suspect, 30-year-old Quentin Smith, was shot by officers and remains hospitalized. He was charged with two counts of aggravated murder. Morbitzer said his wife is cooperating with the investigation and emphasized that she is a victim of domestic violence.

Continuing coverage of the Westerville police shooting here