The man who shot Kentucky police officer Daniel Ellis in the head this week swore moments before that he’d never go back to prison.
On Wednesday, when Ellis, 33, came to the Richmond apartment in search of suspects in a robbery, Raleigh Sizemore told the man who owned the place, Gregory Ratliff, not to let the cops in. Then he retreated to a back bedroom, taking with him a woman also there that day, the Associated Press recounted.
Ratliff let Daniel and another officer in anyway. Sizemore waited as the cops searched the apartment, and as soon as Ellis crossed the threshold of the bedroom door, he shot the officer in the head.
Gunfire was exchanged. The second officer struck Sizemore, who survived the injury. Daniel did not. He died on Friday morning, leaving behind a wife and 4-year-old son. Daniel Ellis had been in the hospital since the shooting in critical condition. Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said the entire city is grieving for Daniel Ellis.
“It’s just heartbreaking. It’s an emotional time for everyone in the community. Those guys work so hard to protect the city.”
According to the Washington Post, Daniel Ellis had been on the police force for seven years and was in line for a promotion to detective. That fateful day, Ellis had been investigating an attempted armed mugging of a woman at a gas station, a mile from Ratliff’s apartment.
“The Richmond Police Department is extremely grateful for the prayers and support that have been extended to Officer Daniel Ellis, his family, friends, and fellow officers,” the Kentucky State Police said in a statement. “They ask that you continue to pray for them as they grieve this tremendous loss, and that the privacy of the family is respected during this very difficult and trying time.”
Sizemore, who was treated for his gunshot wound and released into police custody, had been charged with attempted murder of a police officer and unlawful imprisonment, but now that Daniel Ellis has died, those charges will most likely be elevated, county attorney Marc Robbins said.
The other two in the apartment that day — Ratliff and the woman, identified as Rita Creech — have been charged, Ratliff with complicity to commit murder and Creech with first-degree robbery.
Ratliff told a local news station that he wasn’t involved in the shooting of Officer Daniel Ellis, saying he “was messed up, I don’t know. I just didn’t want nothing to do with it. I got the hell out of there before I could. Now I’m in here on charges I didn’t even do.”
As for Sizemore, he’s an ex-convict who reportedly escaped parole. According to Heavy, he and his father were indicted in January 2012 of possessing and manufacturing meth. His mother, who died last month, was also arrested at that time. They were detained after the house they’d turned into a meth lab exploded. He received a 10-year prison sentence but was released on parole just this April.
Now, Daniel Ellis’ comrades and family are left to mourn his death. Ellis was well-liked, and his police cruiser, parked in front of the department, has been turned into a memorial, said Richmond Police Major Steve Gregg.
“It’s packed with flowers. People are driving by and telling us how sorry they are and that we have their support. That means a lot to us. We’re a very close department. You work together every day and we’re a really close-knit group of people here. It’s like losing a brother.”
Officer Daniel Ellis is the second cop in Kentucky to be killed in the line of duty this year. Just a couple months ago, State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, 31, was shot after pulling over Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks and learning he had an expired license. A car chase ensued and at one point, the suspect leaned out of the window and opened fire. Ponder was hit and died later at a nearby hospital.
Daniel Ellis’ death is the 32nd time a police officer has been shot and killed in the line of duty in this country this year.
[Photo Via YouTube Screengrab]