(UPI) — Two Westerville, Ohio, police officers were killed Saturday morning while responding to a call, officials said.

The incident occurred at about 11:30 a.m. about 15 miles northeast of Columbus. Police said a 911 call came as a hang-up.

One officer was killed in the shooting and another died shortly after, according to police, who have the suspect is in custody.

“As they went in to the apartment they were immediately met with gunfire and both officers were shot,” Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer said during a news briefing.

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Morbitzer identified the officers as Anthony Morelli, 39, a 17-year veteran and Eric Joering, 54, a 30-year veteran. Joering died at the scene and Morelli died in surgery at Ohio State University Medical Center.

“Both officers gave their life in protection of others. They are true American heroes,” Morbitzer said.

Sentiments poured into social media throughout the afternoon.

The city of Westerville responded on Twitter early into the investigation.

“It is with a heavy heart we report a second Westerville officer has been killed in the line of duty. We will share more details here as it becomes available,” the city of Westerville tweeted.

It is with a heavy heart we report a second Westerville officer has been killed in the line of duty. We will share more details here as it becomes available.
– City of Westerville (@tellwesterville) February 10, 2018
State Sen. Kevin Bacon also sent condolences.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the Westerville officers, their friends, families and the Westerville Police Department at this difficult time. We are indebted to the brave men and women who don the blue and the badge day in and day out to keep our communities safe. Sometimes, those officers don’t make it home at the end of a shift. Now is one of those times and we – as a community – must rally behind the families and fellow officers,” Bacon said in a news release.

Copyright 2018 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

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