WESTERVILLE, OH (WCMH) – Today, Central Ohio will lay to rest fallen Westerville Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli.
The bodies of Officer Morelli and Officer Joering will arrive at St. Paul Catholic Church in Westerville at 9:30am Friday.
A public viewing will take place from 10am through 12:30pm at the church.
County Line Road will be closed between Thompson and State Street during the funeral.
The funeral service and police ceremonials and honors will take place from 1pm through 3pm.
Joering, 39 and Morelli, 54, both died in the line of duty, Saturday, Feb. 10 after responding to a domestic situation.
“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.”
“These were two of the best we had,” Morbitzer said. “This was their calling and they did it right, they knew how to do policing the right way, both of them.”
On Monday, the bodies of the two officers received a police procession as they were taken to funeral homes in Westervile. Thousands of peoples lined the street to pay their respects.
Julie Rees and Jessica Wise were among the spectators watching the procession begin. Rees, who lives in Hilliard, is married to a Blendon Township police officer.
“As law enforcement families, we all feel the impact, but our whole community is grieving,” Rees said. “[We] just came out to show our support from our standpoint and be with others who are feeling the pain at this time.”
Wise, who lives in Westerville, is married to a Columbus police officer.
“A lot of shock, a lot of devastation,” Wise said of her reaction to the tragedy. “I love Westerville, I love being a part of that community, so it’s just absolutely heartbreaking that this happened in Westerville.”
That same day, Governor John Kasich ordered flags in Ohio to be flown at half-staff to honor Joering and Morelli.
On Tuesday, it was announced a memorial would be built at First Responders Park to honor both Morelli and Joering.
Families of both officers say the men were special.
“I am thankful for the positive impression they have of Tony because he was one of the finest people I’ve ever known,” Officer Morelli’s father-in-law Andrew Wilch said of the outpouring of support from the community.
Morelli, a 29 year veteran of the force, was recognized across the city by young and old alike. He had worked as a school resource officer and could often be seen providing security at school athletic events.
Officer Joering was recognized three times with the exceptional duty award. At 39-years-old, he served the Westerville Division of Police and community for 16 years.
Savanah Jordan, Joering’s oldest daughter referred to her father as an “amazing dad.
“We used to have little dance parties in the apartment,” she said. “I can’t remember the song, but there was one song and it would play on MTV all the time. I think it was by P!nk and dad loved it. He wouldn’t admit to it, but Dad loved it.”
On Tuesday, there was some good news when it was announced that Sam, Joering’s K9 partner, will retire from the Westerville Division of Police and will have the option of living with Joering’s wife and children, according to the Fraternal Order of Police.
And then some more good news on Wednesday, when the Tunnel2Towers Foundation, announced it would pay off the mortgage for Joering’s family.
A GoFundMe account started by the FOP has raised more than $500,000 for the families of both officers.
A procession is scheduled to start after the funeral on S. State Street. The procession will then proceed south to E. Schrock Road, north on Otterbein Avenue, then east on Walnut Street, north on Spring Road and then east on County Line Road.