Flags at First Responders Park in Hilliard were lowered to half-staff in salute to the two Westerville Division of Police officers killed in the line of duty Saturday, Feb. 10.
A handful of Hilliard Division of Police officers also volunteered to work in Westerville on Sunday, Feb. 11, responding to calls so Westerville officers can grieve the loss of Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli.
Hilliard Chief Bobby Fisher said he knows the feeling, one that is only amplified by the loss of two officers.
“Everyone is still in shock and not knowing how to process it,” Fisher said.
On the same afternoon Westerville Chief Joseph Morbitzer learned about the tragedy that resulted from a response to a 911 hang-up call thought to be part of a domestic-violence situation, Fisher said, he was at Morbitzer’s side for support.
“I remember the feeling when I heard about (Hilliard officer) Sean (Johnson),” Fisher said.
Johnson was killed May 19, 2016, in an on-duty motorcycle-training accident; he was the first Hilliard officer killed in the line of duty since the division was established in 1960.
Likewise, Joering and Morelli are the first officers killed in the line of duty in the history of the Westerville division.
“I remember the experience and I’m offering any guidance and support that I can,” Fisher said.
Fisher said Hilliard’s K-9 handlers were well-acquainted with Joering, a K-9 handler for Westerville.
As chiefs of large, suburban police departments, Fisher said, he and Morbitzer are well acquainted.
Johnson’s funeral services were held at a church in Westerville.
“Chief Morbitzer was there to help us and we are there for him,” Fisher said. “We are all hurting.”