Investigators say Bardstown Police Officer Jason Ellis was gunned early down early May 25 when he stepped from his cruiser to clean up debris on an exit ramp off Bluegrass Parkway. His killer was still at large nearly a week after the shooting.
Gus Goldsmith, who owns Action Loan in Louisville, has pledged $43,000 to a reward fun established to find the person or persons responsible for killing Officer Jason Ellis from Bardstown.
Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin says he was "speechless" when he learned business owner Gus Goldsmith was donating $43,000 to a reward fund set up to find the person who murdered Officer Jason Ellis.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 PM EDT2014-04-17 02:54:16 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The reward for information about the person or persons who killed Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis has grown to $103,000.
Louisville businessman Gus Goldsmith has added $50,000 to that reward, and another $10,000 is coming from Nelson County Court. That's added to the already established $43,000 reward.
Goldsmith is also providing an additional $10,000 to the memorial for Ellis's wife and family. He says although he lives in Louisville and has no connection to Bardstown, he identifies with the Ellis case because his brother was murdered in a pawn shop robbery. "I've been here and felt their pain and pain of a lot of years not finding the killer of my brother," he says.
Goldsmith says he just decided yesterday to donate the money. Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin says he is seldom left speechless, but he is today, given Goldsmith's donation. He says he is also impressed with the turnout for the Ellis funeral, that he has seen officers from as far away as Chicago and New Jersey.
As police try to gather more information on the case, lead investigators are not planning to attend to the funeral because they're working on more leads.
Meanwhile, hundreds of volunteers were on a mission in Bardstown, Kentucky. On Wednesday, some were loading up trucks with 2,300 American flags.
Larry Eckhardt is the man behind this effort. "We've got a young hero down, and this is just my way of saying thanks," says Larry Eckhardt.
He drove roughly 98 miles from Illinois to pay his respects to fallen Bardstown officer Jason Ellis, who was ambushed and gunned down early Saturday morning.
Volunteers spent Wednesday afternoon placing the flags on a stretch of road leading to Highview Cemetery, where Officer Ellis will be buried.
The flags line the road for nearly two miles.
Even nearby homeowners stepped in, placing their own flags outside of homes and barns.
It's not only these flags that are up that are honoring Officer Jason Ellis. Other community members are stepping up in other ways to show their support.
"We've been blowing up balloons and handing out bouquets to all the area businesses and people for their homes to show our appreciation to Jason," said Tammy Cox, owner of Studio TLC Photography.
Cox says they've also been selling lapel pins and balloons for cars. So far, they've raised nearly $2,000 for the family.
Cox says it's the least they can do as they prepare to give the fallen officer a final goodbye.
"Because it is who we are," Cox said. "This is Bardstown and this is our community and we love each other and take care of each other."
"And anytime we lose somebody, I really truly believe that the least we can do is make sure that this flag protects them on their final ride," says Larry Eckhardt.