Police release photo of suspect in death of two Westerville officers

Quentin Smith (Photo courtesy Westerville Police)

WESTERVILLE, OH (WCMH/AP) – The Westerville Division of Police has identified the suspect in the shooting death of two police officers as 30-year-old Quentin Lamar Smith.

Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer said officer Eric Joering, 39, died at the scene and his colleague, Anthony Morelli, 54, died at a local hospital.

Smith was charged with two counts of aggravated murder on Sunday.

(Photo courtesy the City of Westerville, Ohio)

“The officers gave their lives in defense of others,” Morbitzer said during a news conference, struggling to keep his emotions in check. He called them “true American heroes.”Morbitzer said the officers were responding to a “potential domestic situation.” A neighbor who heard the gunfire said it happened at a home where the occupants were “always arguing and fighting.”

The Columbus Police Department is investigating the shootings.

Police released incident reports showing officers had been to Smith’s home or had dealings with him several times since 2017, some for alleged domestic violence involving a woman identified in the reports as his wife, Candace Smith.

Authorities said he was wounded and was treated at a hospital.

In a Nov. 29 incident, Candace Smith, 33, went to a police station and asked about protection orders because she said she and her husband weren’t getting along and she discovered she had a sexually transmitted disease. She also told police that when she “threatens to leave Quentin, he tells her that he would kill her, their daughter, and himself,” the report said.

Candace Smith told police her husband “has a gun that he carries all of the time, and if it isn’t on him, it is close by.” Police were called to the home later that night to investigate a report of domestic violence.