Alissa Widman Neese The Columbus Dispatch
The city of Westerville will pay final respects to its fallen police officers Friday with a public visitation and funeral at St. Paul the Apostle parish.
The viewing for Anthony P. Morelli and Eric Joering is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon at the church at 313 N. State St., followed by an FOP service from noon to 12:15 p.m. and a funeral at 1 p.m. Guests are asked to arrive no earlier than 9:30 a.m. because of the church‘s regular weekday Mass before the event.
A procession through Uptown Westerville will follow the funeral.
The procession route and the exact times of its related closures has not yet been released, but should be posted soon on the city‘s website, westerville.org, police Lt. Tracey Myers said.
At this point, police have said that from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., the following roads will be closed to traffic:
• County Line Road, between Africa Road and State Street.
• State Street, between County Line Road and Old County Line Road.
• All of Moss Road.
The Westerville school district will use a calamity day to cancel classes Friday to respect the day‘s solemnity and prevent transportation issues, according to a Wednesday email to families from Superintendent John Kellogg. Classes at St. Paul also are canceled.
The Westerville Library will also close Friday, according to its website.
Joering, 39, and Morelli, who turned 54 three days earlier, were fatally shot Saturday responding to a 911 hang-up call in the 300 block of Cross Wind Drive.
Quentin Lamar Smith, 30, has been charged with two counts of aggravated murder in their deaths. He is in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries, Columbus police spokesman Dean Worthington said. Smith‘s wife and their 1-year-old daughter were at the scene, but not harmed.
Joering, a more than 16-year veteran of the Westerville police department and a K-9 officer, is survived by his wife, Jami, and daughters Eva, age 12, Elena, 11, and Ella, 6, as well as his parents, a brother and other family members.
Morelli, a nearly 30-year veteran of the department, is survived by his wife of more than 28 years, Linda; daughter Elizabeth, who is supposed to be married in June; son, Chris; his parents, two brothers and other family members.
In lieu of flowers, the families of both officers have asked for donations to be made to the Ohio Concerns of Police Survivors, a nonprofit support network for survivors of officers who have died in the line of duty.
The Fraternal Order of Police has set up a GoFundMe account for the families at GoFundMe/FOPLodge9HelpFund. As of late Wednesday afternoon, it had collected more than $434,000 toward a $500,000 goal. Donations are also being accepted at CME Federal Credit Union in Westerville, 428 S. State St.