BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) – The widow of the first Bardstown police officer killed in the line of duty told reporters Tuesday that her husband was "a dedicated family man" who was devoted to helping people and ridding the community of drugs.
Amy Ellis faced the public for the first time since Officer Jason Ellis was ambushed and killed by multiple rounds from a 12-gauge shotgun while removing debris from an exit ramp leading from the Bluegrass Parkway to Highway 55 early Saturday morning. His killer or killers have not been captured. Kentucky State Police, which is handling the investigation, is following every lead.
"The only reason why I can get up here today is because of prayers," Ellis said through tears during a news conference at the Bardstown Police Department. "God picked me up off the bathroom floor. I didn't want to live another second without [Jason], and now I know I have to be strong for our kids." Jason Ellis is survived by two sons, ages 6 and 7.
"They know, you know, their daddy's not coming back," Amy Ellis said. "It's going to be a long, hard road."
Ellis said she and her husband met on Valentine's Day 2001 while they attended Cumberland College, now known as University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, KY. "It was truly, truly love at first sight," Ellis said. "He was my best friend."
[PREVIOUS STORY: KSP: Fallen officer's murder was premeditated]
Ellis said she decided to speak publicly because she wanted to thank the community for its support.
"It's overwhelming. I just can't even explain how good it makes me feel that people are honoring him," Ellis said. "This horrific tragedy has brought the good out of so many people. People are donating things left and right. I'm blown away."
[PREVIOUS STORY: Community mourns fallen officer; chief vows justice]
Ellis also expressed gratitude to Jason's "police family" in Bardstown and across the country as well as to the citizens who are memorializing him in a variety of ways. Ellis specifically cited "the flags being flown at half mast, the prayers, the flowers, the [baseballs] on his car, the profile pictures on Facebook being changed to his badge."
Jason Ellis was a professional baseball player who played with Cincinnati Reds farm teams in Sarasota, FL and Billings, MT. Amy Ellis said her husband gave up his baseball career in 2005 in order to help care for their son who has special needs. Jason Ellis became a Bardstown Police Office the same year.
[PREVIOUS STORY: Officer Jason Ellis mourned by 'brothers']
Amy Ellis recommended that monetary donations be sent to Supporting Heroes, an organization that honors emergency personnel killed in the line of duty and provides support to their survivors.
"Supporting Heroes has been an amazing, amazing support group for us," Ellis said.