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Cleveland-area man accused of straw purchase of gun used to kill two Ohio policemen (UPDATE)

Flags will be flown at half-staff around Ohio to honor two slain police officers who were shot this weekend in suburban Columbus

  • Ohio-Officers-Fatally-Shot-1

    Mourners gather and leave flowers on a police cruiser parked in front of City Hall in Westerville, Ohio, on Sunday. Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were killed in the line of duty Saturday when a suspect opened fire on them as they responded to a call at a residence.

    SAM GREENE / CINCINNATI ENQUIRER VIA AP

  • Ohio-Officers-Fatally-Shot

    These undated file photos provided by the City of Westerville show Officers Eric Joering, 39, left, and Anthony Morelli, 54, who were fatally shot while responding to a hang-up 9-1-1 call on Saturday. Police in the Columbus suburb of Westerville on Monday, Feb. 12 will escort the bodies of two slain officers as they're moved from a coroner's office to separate funeral homes. Officials invited the public to line the route as the bodies are transported Monday to honor the officers.

    CITY OF WESTERVILLE VIA AP

  • Ohio-Officers-Fatally-Shot-4

    Mourners gather and leave flowers on a police cruiser parked in front of City Hall in Westerville, Ohio, on Sunday. Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were killed in the line of duty Saturday when a suspect opened fire on them as they responded to a call at a residence.

    SAM GREENE / CINCINNATI ENQUIRER VIA AP

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WESTERVILLE — The government has arrested a man accused of providing the gun used in the fatal shooting of two Ohio police officers.

Federal prosecutors say Gerald Lawson of suburban Cleveland is accused of buying the handgun for shooting suspect Quentin Smith last summer.

Officers Eric Joering, 39, and Anthony Morelli, 54, were shot and killed Saturday during a response to a 911 hang-up call. Smith, who was wounded in the shootout, has been charged with aggravated murder in Joering and Morelli’s deaths.

A criminal complaint filed against Lawson in federal court Monday says Smith gave Lawson the money to buy the gun along with $100 for completing the transaction.

It was not clear whether a lawyer had been appointed yet for Lawson. He was due in federal court Monday afternoon.

As a felon convicted previously of burglary, Smith was prevented from having a weapon.

The government says Lawson and Smith were longtime friends, and that Lawson knew Smith couldn't have a weapon.

Earlier today, Gov. John Kasich ordered flags at public properties be flown at half-staff until the officers are interred. Kasich’s order was issued hours before Westerville police were slated to escort the bodies of Joering and Morelli from a coroner’s office to separate funeral homes. Officials invited the public to line the route.

Westerville police haven’t announced funeral details.



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