Two police officers from Websterville, Ohio were shot to death on Saturday while responding to a 911 hangup call from a domestic abuse victim. Westerville Police Officers Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, died as they attempted to enter an apartment.
Inside that home was 30-year-old Quentin Lamar Smith, who police believe pulled the trigger and killed the two men.
“The officers gave their lives in defense of others,” Division of Police Chief Joe Morbitzer said during an emotional news conference, according to NBC4. He called both Joering and Morelli “true American heroes.”
According to USA Today, it is unclear where Smith is and if he is in custody. According to NBC4, he has been wounded and is being treated at a hospital.
Last year, police visited Smith multiple times for alleged domestic violence against his wife, Candace Smith. According to police documents, Candice went to a police station in November to ask about protection orders. She told police that when she “threatens to leave Quentin, he tells her that he would kill her, their daughter, and himself,” the report said.
The wife also told police that he “has a gun that he carries all of the time, and if it isn’t on him, it is close by.”
According to USA Today, that was definitely not supposed to be the case. Because of previous convictions, Quentin was banned from carrying a gun.
After Quentin allegedly shot the officers, Candice spoke to the 911 operator while hiding in some nearby bushes. She was sobbing, stating that her baby daughter was in the home with Quentin.
"Please help, please help, please help," she said, according to CNN. "My husband ... he shot the police officers. Please hurry up.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich put out a statement about the slain police officers: "The finest among us are those who risk it all everyday for our safety, and Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were those people. Their deaths are a terrible tragedy.”
[Photo: Westerville Police Department]