Two Ohio police officers were murdered in cold blood on Saturday after they responded to a 911 hang-up call involving a possible domestic disturbance.
Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were shot and killed shortly after noon on Saturday while responding to a domestic disturbance at an apartment complex. The officers were called to the residence following a 911 hang-up.
Westerville police chief Joe Morbitzer said at a press conference that Morelli and Joering were "immediately" met with gunfire once they entered the residence, according to the New York Times.
Joering died at the scene. Morelli was transported to a Columbus hospital in critical condition where he later died. According to WTTE-TV, Joering was a 17-year department veteran while Morelli had spent 30 years with the department.
During the press conference, Morbitzer, while wiping away tears, called the officers "two of the best we had" and "true American heroes."
"These were two of the best we have. This was their calling, and they did it right. They knew how to do policing the right way, both of them. As I said, both gave their life in protection of others and that's what they lived and breathed," he said, Fox News reported.
Who is the suspect?
According to NBC News, Westerville police said 30-year-old Quentin Lamar Smith is the suspect in the shooting. Fortunately, the slain officers were able to pull their service pistols and return fire during the ambush. They shot and injured Smith.
Smith's condition is unknown, though he was a known individual of the department. NBC News reported Smith had several run-ins with police in 2017 and had become a threat to his family. Smith's wife previously looked into a protection order because Smith had threatened her, their daughter and himself.
What was the national response?
Thousands of people nationwide offered their condolences to Joering's and Morelli's families as well as the Westerville community. Many politicians, including President Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, also offered their sympathies on Twitter.
My thoughts and prayers are with the two police officers, their families, and everybody at the @WestervillePD. https://t.co/AoingY77Ky— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1518297503.0
I've spoken with Westerville's city leaders and Chief Morbitzer and pledged whatever support they need from the hig… https://t.co/Ob433aKzmT— John Kasich (@John Kasich)1518300340.0