Man charged with providing gun to suspect accused of killing Westerville Officers

Gerald Lawson

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A man has been charged with providing a gun to Quentin Smith, the suspect accused of killing two Westerville police officers.

According to United States Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman, Gerald A. Lawson III, 30, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, has been charged for allegedly acting as a straw purchaser for Smith, a convicted felon who is accused of shooting and killing Westerville Police Officers Eric Joering and Tony Morelli.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, when Westerville Police Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering responded to a disturbance call on Cross Wind Drive in Westerville, Smith was armed with a Glock semi-automatic handgun.

As a convicted felon, Smith is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.

An undisclosed witness told investigators Smith provided Lawson money for the firearm and an extra $100 to compensate Lawson – who knew Smith had been convicted of a felony – for buying the gun for him.

Investigators learned that Lawson and Smith have a long history of friendship. A review of Lawson’s social media account after the incident on February 10 revealed a post by Lawson displaying three photographs of both of the men together. A comment by Lawson associated with the post also referenced the long-standing friendship between the two.

Firearm trace results indicate the Glock firearm was purchased by Lawson in Broadview Heights, Ohio.

Aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm by a prohibited person is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

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