Coroner: Bardstown officer ambushed with 12-gauge shotgun

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Nelson County Coroner Field Houghlin tells WDRB Jason Ellis, the Bardstown police officer killed early Saturday morning, was shot multiple times with a 12-gauge shotgun.

The coroner says Ellis was on exit ramp 34 off Bluegrass Parkway and the subject(s) was up on top of the hill shooting down on him.

When asked if he thought Ellis was ambushed, Houghlin said: "I would say that is definitely what happened."

Kentucky State Police is handling the investigation.

"It wasn't a traffic crash, it wasn't a suicide or anything like that, it was a homicide. Someone took this officer's life," Trooper Norman Chaffins told WDRB.

The shooting happened just before 3 Saturday morning.

"His vehicle was parked on the exit ramp with his blue lights on in a manner to prevent traffic, indicating that something was ahead, " said Chief Rick McCubbin of Bardstown PD.

33 year-old Jason Ellis was found on the ground outside his car, shot multiple times.

Shell casings from a 12-gauge shotgun were found at the scene.

Officer Ellis' weapon was still in his holster.

"Two vehicles had stopped behind him and I think basically after they sat there a few minutes and saw no action, the curiosity got them, they got out to see what was going on and that's when they found Officer Ellis on the side of the road," said McCubbin.

Officials believe Ellis was on his way home from work when he stopped for unknown reasons on exit 34.

"He received no call to that area and did not call out to our dispatch center that he was out on a violator, a subject or anything," said McCubbin.

A motorcade escorted Ellis' body to a funeral home Saturday where fellow officers and loved ones gathered.

"As you can imagine, a very sad day for us. This is the first officer in the history of the Bardstown Police Department to be shot and killed in the line of duty," McCubbin told media.

They say Ellis was a huge asset to the force. He was their only K-9 officer.

"It's basically a large family here and a lot of these officers have worked together many years so as you can imagine, they're very close. They know each other well, they know each other's families, each other's children so it's a very devastating hit," said McCubbin.

"I can assure you we won't give up on this person until we either have them in custody or on the front side of one of our weapons and I personally hope the latter is the choice," he continued.

Ellis was a seven year veteran of the Bardstown Police Department. Ellis leaves behind his wife, Amy; sons Parker (6) and Hunter (7); two sisters; his mother and step-father. 

It's still not clear if Ellis was a random shooting victim or targeted. KSP will continue to investigate.

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