Two Ohio police officers shot dead responding to 911 call

Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, of Westerville Division of Police (WPD) is seen in this undated photo in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., released February 10, 2018. City of Westerville/ Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, of Westerville Division of Police (WPD) is seen in this undated photo in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., released February 10, 2018. City of Westerville/Handout via REUTERS

By Ian Simpson

Officer Eric Joering, 39, of Westerville Division of Police (WPD) is seen in this undated photo in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., released February 10, 2018. City of Westerville

Officer Eric Joering, 39, of Westerville Division of Police (WPD) is seen in this undated photo in Westerville, Ohio, U.S., released February 10, 2018. City of Westerville/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Two Ohio police officers were shot to death on Saturday while responding to a domestic disturbance in the Columbus suburb of Westerville, and a suspect was wounded and is in custody, officials said.

The two officers were immediately fired upon when they entered an apartment responding to a 911 call that had hung up, Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer said at a news conference.

“These were two of the best we had. This was their calling and they did it right,” said Morbitzer, his voice halting and thick with emotion.

Officer Eric Joering, 39, died at the scene, and Officer Anthony Morelli, 54, died from his wounds at a hospital. Morbitzer said they had been responding to a “domestic situation.”

The suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital, a city spokeswoman said. The suspect’s condition and identity have not been released.

Columbus police are heading the investigation into the shooting, Morbitzer said.

Excluding Saturday’s shootings in Ohio, 12 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty this year, nine in firearms-related incidents, according to the non-profit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

The Westerville shootings came a day after a Georgia police officer was shot and killed and two sheriff’s deputies were wounded by a gunman who was then killed.

U.S. President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter, “My thoughts and prayers are with the two police officers, their families, and everybody at the @WestervillePD.”

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by David Gregorio)

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