BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) – A Bardstown police officer found shot and killed early Saturday morning on an exit ramp off the Bluegrass Parkway in Nelson County has been identified by the Bardstown Police Department as Jason Ellis, 33. Ellis was the first Bardstown Police officer killed in the line of duty and the department's only K-9 officer.
"This is the first officer killed in the line of duty in the more than 150 years of our department," Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin said of the seven-year veteran of the force.
McCubbin said a woman who saw Ellis' body lying on the exit 34 ramp leading from the Bluegrass Parkway to Highway 55 called 911 around 2:53 a.m. to report a fatal car accident involving a police officer. When Trooper Mike Garyantes arrived on the scene, he discovered that Ellis had been shot and determined there had been no crash.
Police said Ellis did not have any radio communications with dispatch in the minutes before his death. He worked second shift and was in uniform in a marked police car on his way home from work when the incident occurred.
"[Ellis] had not called out on anything. We believe he stopped to assist something or someone in the roadway -- at least that's the evidence there. We're not sure," McCubbin said.
Police have no suspects in custody. KSP is handling the investigation and is awaiting autopsy results.
"We have all the faith KSP will work alongside us to develop whatever information we can," McCubbin said. " I can assure you we won't give up on this person or person until we either have them in custody or in the front sight of one of our weapons. I certainly hope the latter is the choice."
According to his biography from the University of the Cumberlands, Ellis was a native of Batavia, OH just outside Cincinnati and attended Glen Este High School. He played baseball at the college level and holds the University's all-time career batting average.
After graduating in 2003, Ellis played professional minor league baseball for the Cincinnati Reds farm teams in Sarasota, FL and Billings, MT from 2002-2005.
His University of the Cumberlands biography indicates he started with the Bardstown Police Department in 2005 and became a K-9 officer in 2008. He received the Governor's Award for Impaired Driving Enforcement in 2007 and 2008 and received the Officer of the Year award in 2008.
He was married to another University of the Cumberlands graduate and also leaves behind two sons and two sisters.