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Published: Saturday, February 10, 2018 @ 2:27 PM
Updated: Monday, February 12, 2018 @ 8:50 PM
WESTERVILLE — Several hundred Ohioans lined the streets of Westerville to pay tribute as a somber procession of hundreds of police cars escorted two fallen officers from the Franklin County morgue to two Westerville funeral homes.
As the medic transport rolled by, officers and firefighters saluted, the crowd fell silent and people wiped away tears and held their hands over their hearts.
Officers Anthony Morelli, 54, and Eric Joering, 39, were gunned down when they responded to a 911-hang up call around noon on Saturday on Crosswind Drive. Records show police had previously been at the address for domestic violence calls.
Monday night, the families of the officers issued a statement via Twitter:
Statement from the families of Westerville police officers Eric Joering and Tony Morelli: pic.twitter.com/NimaHL0phf— Jessie Balmert (@jbalmert) February 13, 2018
Westerville resident Ben Nichols stood on East Shrock Road awaiting officers arrival and remembered Morelli as the resource officer in his middle school. “”This hits close to home,” he said. “He was a personable guy. He always had a big smile on his face.”
In respect of the ultimate sacrifice made by Officers Morelli and Joering, I am ordering the lowering of flags until they are laid to rest. pic.twitter.com/BQolooOceJ— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) February 12, 2018
“He was the first person to jump in and diffuse a situation. He could talk his way into or out of anything to help somebody out. Always smiling,” said Jack Denzinger, who also remembered Morelli from Blendon Middle School.
Morelli had been on the force 29 years while Joering served Westerville police for 16 years, according to the Westerville Police Department.
The show of support didn’t surprise Westerville native Kim Cleaver. “This community pulls together. Very much,” she said.
Quentin L. Smith, 30, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder. Smith, who was shot five times, is in stable condition at a Columbus area hospital and is expected to survive his wounds, said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien. O’Brien added that Smith is eligible for the death penalty — an option that will be reviewed as the case proceeds.
In 9-1-1 calls to Westerville Police, Candace Smith reported that she was outside hiding in the bushes while her 1-year-old daughter was inside their townhome and that Quentin Smith had shot a police officer. “Please help. Please help. Please help,” she tells dispatchers. “He shot the police officers. Hurry up. My daughter is in there.”
Federal authorities announced that Gerald A. Lawson, III, 30, of Warrensville Heights, is facing criminal charges for allegedly buying the Glock semi-automatic handgun for Smith. He was arrested Monday. Smith is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm because he has felony convictions for burglary and domestic violence. The two men are long-time friends, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Lawson is charged with aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, a federal crime that carries up to 10 years in prison.
Gov. John Kasich ordered flags flown at half staff until Morelli and Joering are buried. The governor received a condolence call from President Trump on Sunday.
“Just spoke to @JohnKasich to express condolences and prayers to all for the horrible shooting of two great police officers from @WestervillePD. This is a true tragedy!” Trump said in a tweet.
The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9 set up a GoFundMe account for the Joering and Morelli families with medical bills, funeral expenses and scholarship funds for their children. By Monday afternoon, it had raised $295,545 from 4,234 donors.
Police are warning to beware of scam accounts attempting to collect money.
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 11:07 PM
DAYTON — A gunshot victim arrived tonight at Good Samaritan Hospital, which notified police.
The shooting reportedly happened in the 700 block of Ferguson Avenue in Dayton, according to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center.
Dayton police were dispatched to the hospital around 9:45 p.m.
The victim’s name, age and condition was not available tonight.
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 5:31 PM
LEBANON — The Warren County Sheriff’s Office is warning people of a phone scam that cost one area resident about $2,000.
Sgt. Roy McGill said since Feb. 15, several residents who live inside and outside Warren County have received phone calls from someone identifying himself as a “Sgt. Corey Adams” of the sheriff’s office and telling them he has a warrant for their arrest.
The fake deputy then tells the resident to purchase pre-paid debit cards from local retailers and subsequently requests the debit card numbers for payment, over the phone, to keep from being arrested on the warrant. McGill said at least one victim provided payment information and was scammed out of approximately $2,000.
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 3:46 PM
WINCHESTER, Mass. — A 22-year-old woman is dead after a double stabbing Saturday at a public library in Massachusetts.
Winchester police tell Boston 25 News they were called to the Winchester Public Library just after 10:30 a.m.
When police arrived, they found a female and an elderly man both suffering from stab wounds, Boston25News reported.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan says the 22-year-old female was in the library sitting at a table when the suspect, 24-year-old Jeffrey Yao, approached her from behind and stabbed her with a 10-inch hunting knife.
She suffered multiple stab wounds to the head and upper torso and was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Several people in the library ran to help the woman, including a 77-year-old man who also sustained stab wounds, Boston25News reported. He was taken to the hospital.
Yao was arrested in connection with the stabbing. He is being held without bail and is facing murder and assault with intent to murder with a dangerous weapon charges.
Officials did not say if the stabbing was random or if Yao knew the victim. They are still investigating the stabbing - including the motive.
The victim has not been identified.
Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 2:44 PM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 2:33 PM
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Police arrested a Florida man Monday after he allegedly broke into a sleeping woman’s home and committed sexual battery.
Officers responded to an apartment in an undisclosed West Palm Beach neighborhood about 5 a.m. Feb. 19 when a woman called and said she woke up to a man kneeling at the foot of her bed and touching her genital area, according to the arrest report.
She told officers that she asked the man — who was later identified as 27-year-old Lamarsh Shelly — what he was doing in her house, and he said “your door was open,” the police report states.
According to the arrest report, Shelly then asked her if she wanted to have sex and asked her for a cigarette. She gave him a cigarette, and she demanded he leave the apartment. She told officers that she knew him from the neighborhood, and he went by the nickname “Honeycomb.”
The woman said Shelly was wearing a black shirt with tan pants, the Palm Beach Post reported. Officers then spoke to another witness who said that she saw Shelly outside of the apartment walking north while smoking a cigarette.
Officers located Shelly at 8th Street and Herietta Avenue, where he told officers, “I don’t burglarize and I don’t want sex,” the report states.
Shelly later admitted to officers that he walked into the apartment, opened the front door and saw the victim sleeping in her bed, the Palm Beach Post reported. He said that he made noises to wake her up to tell her that her front door was open, but did not mention touching her.
Police said children were sleeping in the apartment when the incident occurred.