Officer killed in Westerville shooting grew up in Northeast Ohio

MASSILLON, OH (WOIO) - Two officers were killed in the line of duty in Westerville Saturday.

Officer Eric Joering, 39 died at the scene. Officer Tony Morelli, 54, died in surgery at the hospital..

Morelli grew up in Massillon. Friends say they are heartbroken over the loss.

"Just sort of stops you in the tracks sort of moment, surreal. It was a time-stop kind of moment, you don't really believe it," said friend Tony Mastrianni.

It wasn't long after Saturday's deadly shooting Mastrianni found out the news. One of the fallen was a high school classmate and friend.

"Man, he was a good dude. He was a gentleman. He had that unique ability, and I think that's why he was such an effective policeman for that long. That's a difficult job," Mastrianni said.

Mastrianni shared high school pictures from when they played football together.

"We got to the state championship back in the day, we couldn't win it," Mastrianni explained.

Mastrianni last saw Anthony, or Tony, in September for their high school class reunion where they had fun reminiscing.

"That was a good time. Everyone got to see him," Mastrianni said.

He says it's heartbreaking to hear that such a kind and decent guy would be taken in such a horrific way.

"You cannot find a person who would ever say a bad word about Tony Morelli.

That's the best thing I can say about him. He was a great guy. As a general embodiment," Mastrianni said.

More than $140,000 raised for families of fallen Westerville, Ohio officers

Morelli isn't the only one with ties to Northeast Ohio. The suspect in the shooting, Quentin Smith, lived in Euclid in 2007 and 2008.

He faced charges there for aggravated burglary, felonious assault and domestic violence.

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