Ohio man charged with buying gun used to kill two police officers

Image:Officer Eric Joering and Officer Anthony Morelli.
Officer Eric Joering and Officer Anthony Morelli.Westerville PD via WCMH

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By Tim Stelloh

An Ohio man was charged Monday with buying the Glock handgun allegedly used to kill two police officers outside Columbus over the weekend, federal authorities said.

In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio said that Gerald Lawson, 30, was arrested for acting as a straw purchaser for Quentin Smith, the man who allegedly opened fire on Westerville police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering, killing them.

Smith, a convicted felon, was barred from buying or a possessing a gun, so he gave Lawson the money to get one, plus $100 for his trouble, the statement said.

The statement describes the men as old friends.

Smith, who was charged with aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, faces 10 years in prison. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Morelli, 54, and Joering, 39, were shot to death while responding to a 911 hang up call. Smith’s wife had previously sought protection orders because he’d threatened to kill her, their daughter and himself, police said.

Smith was charged with two counts of aggravated murder, court records show.