Flags at half-staff to honor 2 slain Ohio police officers

Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer identified the officers as 39-year-old Eric Joering and 54-year-old Tony Morelli.
Mourners gather and leave flowers on a police cruiser parked in front of City Hall in Westerville, Ohio, on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were killed in the line of duty Saturday when a suspect opened fire on them as they responded to a call at a residence. (Sam Greene/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) – Ohio’s governor on Monday ordered flags flown at half-staff around the state to honor two police officers killed over the weekend in suburban Columbus.

The order from Republican Gov. John Kasich applies to flags at public properties and will be in place until the officers are interred.

The order came hours before police in suburban Westerville were slated to escort the bodies of 39-year-old Eric Joering and 54-year-old Anthony Morelli from a coroner’s office to separate funeral homes. Officials invited the public to line the route.

Westerville police haven’t announced funeral details.

The officers were shot Saturday while responding to a 911 hang-up call at a townhome where the 30-year-old suspect was wounded.

Officials said Sunday that suspect Quentin Smith was hospitalized in stable condition and expected to survive.

He’s charged with aggravated murder. Municipal court records didn’t show an attorney for him.

Smith was sentenced to three years in prison in 2009 on a burglary conviction with an added enhancement of having a gun. He left prison in 2011 and was released from parole, called community control in Ohio, in November 2013, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

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