Ohio runners honor slain officers with 'thank you' message

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Runners in a small suburb of Columbus paid tribute to two fallen police officers with a touching message Wednesday morning.

A group of women from the Westerville, Ohio, chapter of Moms Run This Town, organized a memorial run for Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli, who were shot and killed on Saturday while responding to a call.

Their run across the city – which started at the Westerville Police headquarters - spelled out the words “Thank You” and the runners all wore blue in honor of the officers, WSYX/WTTE reported.

“We run early. We run late,” Kristen O’Connor told NBC4i ahead of the run. “[Police officers] always looking out for us and that’s why it’s personal for me because I know they’re taking care of us, keeping us safe.”

The group told the station they had planned to do a Valentine’s Day themed run, but decided to change it after the officers were killed in the line of duty.

Veteran officers Morelli, 54, and Joering, 39, were killed in a gun battle with violent criminal Quentin Smith in the Columbus suburb of Westerville Saturday. The officers had responded to Smith’s home after a 911 hang-up call related to a domestic incident.