Police process down State St. in Westerville, where two officers were killed on the job.
WESTERVILLE, Ohio— The man identified by police as the suspect in the killing of two veteran law enforcement officers was prohibited from having a weapon by law, records show.
Incident reports released by the Westerville Police Department show 30-year-old Quentin Smith’s wife, Candace, 33, had told police in November her husband carried a “gun all of the time.”
Officers Anthony Morelli, 54, and Eric Joering, 39 arrived at the Smith residence on Crosswind Drive at 12:10 p.m. ET and were “immediately met with gunfire,” Westerville police Chief Joe Morbitzer said at news conference Saturday.
Joering, a 17-year police veteran, was pronounced dead at the scene. Morelli was taken to the hospital, where he later died.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said he would pursue the death penalty for Quentin Smith if he survives his injuries.
“It would be a death penalty case,” he said.
Smith was convicted of burglary in 2008 and spent time in prison. This conviction barred him from legally being able to carry a gun.
In a report from Nov. 29, Smith’s wife reportedly told officers she knew her husband was not allowed to have a gun.
“He gave money to a friend of his and the friend purchased (the gun) for him,” she told police, according to the report.
When police located Smith a short time later, they searched both him and his vehicle and found no gun.
Smith’s criminal history is concentrated in his home county of Cuyahoga, near Cleveland.
Records show Smith lived in a suburb of Cleveland and was arrested in 2007 and charged with felonious assault. That case was later dismissed.
In 2008, Smith was charged with aggravated burglary and felonious assault. He ultimately pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and domestic violence.
Smith had also been charged on at least two other occasions with domestic violence, but both of those cases were dismissed, according to records.
Smith and his wife also filed for bankruptcy in 2017, listing more than $100,000 in debts. In the filing, a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun is listed as being owned by the couple.
Police have not said what type of gun was used in the fatal shooting.
A woman calls 911 frantically asking for help after saying that her husband shot police officers and that her one-year-old daughter is still in the house.
Piecing together what happened
Chief Morbitzer during a Sunday morning news conference told residents to expect cruisers from other departments “all patrolling our streets to give our folks a break and time to process.”
“The Columbus team that’s investigating this murder of two officers, they were diligent in their investigation to ensure we get a prosecution,” Morbitzer said.
In police radio traffic released to the media Saturday, dispatchers say three officers responded to the scene, knocked on the door, then heard shots fired that resulted in two officers down.
Charles Sellevaag, a neighbor of the Smiths, on Sunday told The Cincinnati Enquirer he saw an officer drag his colleague out of an apartment building.
“He ripped open his shirt and started screaming officer down,” said Sellevaag, 49.
In 911 audio, Candace Smith told a dispatcher she was hiding in bushes outside the residence and her daughter was still inside with Quentin Smith. Police radio traffic indicated officers found the child on a couch while holding Quentin Smith at gunpoint.
Quentin Smith’s status and location remain unclear. Officials at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center first said he wasn’t a patient, then said he was at nearby Mount Carmel Saint Ann’s. Saint Ann’s referred reporters back to OSU.
As of Sunday afternoon, Quentin Smith was not booked in the Franklin County Correction Center.
Saturday’s shooting of Joering and Morelli marked the third and fourth deaths by gunfire of law enforcement officers this week and the seventh so far in February, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, which tracks such deaths.
In Colorado, an El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy marking his 11-year anniversary with the force was killed Monday in a shooting that also left three law enforcement officers wounded.
The fallen deputy, Micah Flick, 34, is survived by his wife and 7-year-old twins.
And on Wednesday, Richardson Police Officer David Sherrard, 37, was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance at an apartment complex. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Follow Bethany Bruner and Jessie Balmert on Twitter: @bethany_bruner and @jbalmert
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