Bardstown Chief: Officer Ellis was targeted - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bardstown Chief: Officer Ellis was targeted

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Calling it "too methodical, too precise," Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin says Officer Jason Ellis was targeted by a shooter and that his death was not a random act.

McCubbin's announcement Tuesday was a change from what investigators were saying over the weekend.

"We believe he was the target," McCubbin told reporters during a late afternoon news conference Tuesday. "It was too methodical, too precise. No one has that kind of luck for it to be random."

McCubbin added that he believes Ellis' police work was a contributing factor but says there were no previous threats made against the officer. McCubbin also did not point to any specific cases.

"This was methodical, set up, planned and executed in a perfect fashion, unfortunately," McCubbin said.

Kentucky State Police, the agency investigating Ellis' death, said its detectives have not ruled out anything and are still investigating all possibilities.

"We cannot say for sure that Jason was specifically targeted. I received many tips via our website today and (investigators) are following up on those," Trooper Norman Chaffins told WDRB News in an email late Tuesday.

Bardstown Mayor Bill Sheckles said police are pursuing several leads in the case. "They're following up on every tip, every lead," he said. 

Chief McCubbin said there are no suspects in the case. He also said some people on social media have been bragging about the officer's death, and that the people behind those postings will be investigated, "since they want to be so open about it."

Mayor Sheckles also spoke about how grateful he was for the support of the community, including the organization Supporting Heroes, which assists the families of fallen officers.

Mayor Sheckles said the city of Bardstown is adding $10,000 to the reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons who committed the crime. That fund total now tops $32,000.

He also pointed out that Officer Ellis was a K-9 officer, and that his dog is being retired.  He said letting the Ellis family have the dog would be a continuing connection to Officer Ellis.

Police say Ellis was ambushed, shot to death off Bluegrass Parkway early Saturday morning when he pulled over to pick up debris in the road.

McCubbin said the case can be emotionally draining at times.

"It is extremely frustrating because we have no suspect," he said. "No motive. Nothing to go on. I believe in time we will."

Widow's struggle

Officer Ellis' wife Amy spoke to reporters earlier Tuesday about how she is grieving and struggling to cope with the loss of her husband.

She described Ellis as a loving father, husband and dedicated officer who loved his job. During a news conference, she thanked the community for their outpouring of support. 

"I feel the prayers and the support and I wanted to thank everybody."

Amy said she struggled to find the ability to speak with reporters and added that it's been just as difficult to explain what happened to their two sons, one of whom cried out recently for his dad.

"He got hurt yesterday and that's when he started letting it all out. He just screamed and screamed and screamed he wanted his daddy. And we all sat there and cried with him and said 'We know, we do too.'"

Ellis was shot multiple times early Saturday on an exit ramp off the Bluegrass Parkway. Authorities say he stopped to clear debris from the road that investigators say was intentionally placed there.

The reward fund for information leading to an arrest now tops $32,000.

Frustrating investigators, McCubbin says, is the fact there is still no clear motive and little for investigators to go on. 

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