UPDATE: Not Guilty plea entered for man accused of killing Ohio police officers

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WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) - UPDATE: 03/29/2018, 3:10 P.M.

The man accused of killing two Westerville, Ohio police officers appeared in court on Wednesday.

Attorneys for 31-year-old Quentin Smith entered a not guilty plea on his behalf at his arraignment.

Smith faces two counts of aggravated murder, both of which carry a possible death sentence.

Smith continues to be held in jail without bond.

Police say Smith shot and killed Officer Anthony Morelli and Officer Eric Joering on February 10th, 2018, as they responded to a 9-1-1 hangup call from Smith's home.

Investigators say the officers were shot just after they arrived at the front door of the home.


UPDATE: 03/10/2018 11:55 P.M.

The police chief in a central Ohio city where two officers were slain last month while responding to a 911 hang-up call says the department's official mourning period ends this weekend.

Westerville Police Chief Joseph Morbitzer said in a statement this week that mourning period ends Saturday.

Morbitzer says he's received numerous inquiries from residents and businesses asking when they should remove blue ribbons and replace blue light bulbs.

Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were fatally shot after entering a Westerville home Feb. 10. Thirty-year-old Quentin Smith was shot by the officers and faces aggravated murder charges.

Morbitzer said that while the mourning period has ended, "it is our goal to live the ideals and values of Tony and Eric each and every day."

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 2/15/2018, 6:21 P.M.

A funeral service is scheduled for Friday for the two Westerville, Ohio police officers who were killed while responding to a 9-1-1 hang-up call over last weekend.

A post on the City of Westerville's website says a viewing is scheduled from 10 A.M. to Noon on Friday for officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering.

It will be at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Westerville.

The funeral will follow at 1 P.M.

The city will livestream Friday's services, and there will be a procession through the city after the funeral.

The two veteran officers were shot after entering a residence early Saturday afternoon.

The officers returned fire, wounding 30-year-old Guentin Smith.

Smith has been charged with aggravated murder. He remains in the hospital.


UPDATE: 2/12/18 6:30 P.M.

The tragic death of Eric Joering and Tony Morelli shook the town of Westerville and the city of Columbus, and we are feeling the impact even here in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Marietta Police Chief Rodney Hupp says there have been eleven police shootings so far this year, one as recent as Monday morning in Los Angeles. But he says the ones in Westerville really hit home.

Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says that a representative from the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association attended the procession on their behalf. But he says his department is wearing a black stripe over their badges and have lowered their flags to half-staff.

Chief Hupp says that domestic violence calls are one of the most dangerous and unstable situations police officers deal with. “A police officer, unlike a social worker or a family friend or a member of the clergy that has been involved in a bad situation for a long period of time, a police officer comes in in a snapshot in time in a situation which has economic, social, cultural, sexual, all kinds of factors in the mix, and he comes in when it has reached a boiling point."

He says if police have been summoned to a domestic incident, there's a good chance there has already been violence. He says domestic disputes are something officers deal with multiple times a day in every department all across the country.

UPDATE: 02/11/18 10 P.M.

A man accused of killing two Ohio police officers has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder.

Authorities filed the charges against 30-year-old Quentin Smith late Sunday afternoon.

Westerville police officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli were killed Saturday while responding to a 911 hang-up call at a townhome in the city.

Authorities say the officers shot and wounded Smith, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition. The hospital would not provide updates on his condition on Sunday.

Reports show police had previously gone to the home where the officers were shot for three domestic disputes but no arrests were ever made.

President Donald Trump on Sunday wrote on Twitter that he had reached out to Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sihk) to express his condolences over the officers' deaths.


UPDATE: 02/11/18 4:55 P.M.

President Donald Trump has called Ohio Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sihk) to express condolences over the deaths of two police officers.

Trump on Sunday tweeted that he reached out to Kasich, a Republican and frequent rival, to offer prayers after Westerville officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli were killed the day before.

Trump tweeted: "This is a true tragedy!"

Police had previously been to the home of the suspect, 30-year-old Quentin Smith, three times for domestic dispute calls.

Smith was shot and wounded by the officers and taken to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in critical condition.

Trump has long cast himself as a friend of law enforcement and has vowed to toughen punishments for those who wound or kill police officers.


UPDATE: 02/11/18 12:05 P.M.

Reports show that police in the Ohio city where two officers were fatally shot at a home had previously gone to the residence for domestic violence calls.

Westerville police officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli were killed early Saturday afternoon while responding to a 911 hang-up call at a townhome where the suspect, 30-year-old Quentin Smith, was wounded.

Police in this normally quiet Columbus suburb went to the townhome where Smith lives with his wife and young daughter on possible domestic violence three times since September. No arrests were made.

A November call came from Smith's wife, who said Smith cheated on her and gave her a sexually transmitted disease. Smith's mother called police when officers went to the home this January.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Westerville police went to the home after Smith's mother contacted police in January 2018, not September 2017.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


UPDATE: 02/10/18 7:45 p.m.

A teenager who lives across the street from where two Ohio police officers were fatally shot in a Columbus suburb says he heard five or six shots and then saw police cars pulling up.

Trea (TRAY) Horne tells The Associated Press the couple who lived in the Westerville townhome where the shooting occurred Saturday moved in about eight months ago. He says they argued frequently. The 17-year-old says police often were called to the home.

A woman who lives near where the officers were slain says she saw police officers nearly dragging firefighters who responded toward the townhome. Forty-six-year-old Jennifer Ripperger says the neighborhood of townhomes is a mix of renters and owners.

Westerville Police say 39-year-old Eric Joering and 54-year-old Anthony Morelli were shot around noon after responding to a 911 hang-up call.


UPDATE: 02/10/18 6:10 p.m.

Police in Ohio have identified two officers who were fatally shot at a home in a Columbus suburb and say a suspect is in custody.

Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer says 39-year-old Eric Joering and 54-year-old Anthony Morelli were shot around noon Saturday after responding to a 911 hang-up call. He says they were responding to a "potential domestic situation."

Morbitzer says the officers "gave their lives in defense of others" and "they're true American heroes."

Police provided no details about the suspect

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sihk), who lives with his family in a nearby township, and President Donald Trump both sent tweets asking for prayers for the officers' families and colleagues.


ORIGINAL STORY: 02/10/18 4:17 P.M.

Police in Ohio say two officers have been fatally shot at a home in a Columbus suburb, and a suspect is in custody.

Westerville police say in a statement that the shooting happened Saturday after officers responded to a 911 hang-up call around 11:30 a.m. The officers were shot after they arrived at a residence.

Police say a suspect is in custody but provided no other details.

Columbus police have been brought in to investigate the slayings.

Authorities have scheduled a news conference for later Saturday afternoon.

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sihk), who lives with his family in a nearby township, tweeted he's "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."

Westerville is 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of downtown Columbus.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)



 
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