Friday, 23 February, 2018

Justice Department charges 'straw purchaser' in OH police shooting

Two Ohio police officers killed responding to a call, officials say Shooting in the USA: two police officers killed
Herman Weaver | 15 February, 2018, 15:20

The 911 call came into the suburban OH police department of Westerville at about noon Saturday.

Morelli's father, who still lives in Massillon, said his son was a well-respected patrol officer and resource officer in the high school. Federal prosecutors said a man named Gerald Lawson of suburban Cleveland has been accused of buying the handgun for Smith last summer. Lawson and Smith have a long friendship and Smith paid Lawson the cost of the gun plus an extra $100, authorities said.

Authorities caught up to Lawson of Warrensville Heights through tips, social media posts and a gun trace, said Ronald Herndon, a Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives agent. Smith was convicted of burglary in 2008, barring him for possessing a firearm. Lawson faces a bond hearing on Wednesday. They say he was found nearby, and he was fatally shot after a confrontation with police. Smith was also wounded, and remained hospitalized.

A charitable fund created for the families of the officers has raised more than $270,000 in a day. "He shot the police officers".

Gov. John Kasich ordered all flags at public properties lowered to half-staff to honor the officers.

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Joering had been a Westerville officer for 17 years; Morelli had been a member of the force for 30 years, Fox News previously reported.

The pair was shot Saturday as they responded to a 911 call for a domestic violence incident at a townhouse in the Columbus suburb of Westerville. The suspect's condition and identity have not been released.

The Fraternal Order of Police has established a fundraising page to help the Morelli and Joering families, and the city will be holding a vigil Tuesday night at First Responders Park.

The argument died down and Smith hopped in the shower, and she packed a bag and hid in the neighbor's house, according to court records. He called both Joering and Morelli "true American heroes".

The Columbus Division of Police, which is leading the investigation, has filed two counts of aggravated murder charges, according to the city of Westerville. Police were called to the home later that night to investigate a report of domestic violence.

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