RICHMOND — The man accused of shooting Richmond police officer Daniel Ellis Wednesday had absconded parole after serving a prison sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine, records show.
Ellis was taken Wednesday to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital in Lexington with a "potentially life-threatening" gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.
The suspect, Raleigh Sizemore also was taken to UK Hospital after being shot in the chest and arm by a second officer; he was released into state police custody in the afternoon. Sizemore, 34, of Richmond, was charged Wednesday night with attempted murder of a police officer and unlawful imprisonment, state police said.
State police also charged Gregory Ratliff, 25, of Richmond with complicity to commit murder of a police officer. He was being held in the Madison County jail. Rita Creech, 44, of Richmond, was charged with first-degree robbery, according to the Madison jail website.
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Sizemore had been released in April on parole after serving about three years of a 10-year sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine and first-degree criminal mischief, according to state corrections records.
Ellis was shot about 10:30 a.m. while searching Ratliff's apartment at 513 Ballard Drive in Richmond while he and another officer investigated an attempted robbery earlier in the day at a gas station about a half-mile away, said Trooper Robert Purdy, spokesman for the Kentucky State Police post in Richmond.
Sizemore allegedly told Ratliff he didn't intend to go back to prison and warned him "not to let them in or he would shoot him," according to a report cited by Associated Press. He then led Creech to a bedroom in the back of the apartment with a gun in his hand, the report said.
Ratliff let Ellis into the apartment and allowed him to search, but said no one else was there and there were no weapons in the home, according to the Associated Press.
Sizemore shot Ellis in the head "as soon as he began to cross the threshold of the bedroom door," according to the Associated Press.
"It sounds like the injuries are very severe and potentially life-threatening," Purdy said. "It obviously causes a lot of concern for law enforcement and the community of Richmond and Madison County."
Officers from several agencies gathered at the hospital Wednesday in an anxious show of support for their wounded colleague. More than 150 people attended a prayer vigil Wednesday night outside the Richmond police department. Ellis, 33, has been on the Richmond force for seven years.
"Being in law enforcement is like being in a family," said trooper Bernie Napier, who answered some media questions outside the hospital. "We all care about each other."
Inside the hospital, "it's very quiet. A lot of hung heads," Napier said. "A lot of crying. People are just concerned and hoping for the best."
"This is being felt by all agencies across the state, and I would imagine, across the nation right now," he said.
Kevin Lee, who lives in the apartment complex where Ellis was wounded, said he heard a series of gunshots and rushed to his second- story back window, overlooking the scene.
Lee said he saw the officer bleeding on the sidewalk a few feet outside the apartment's front door. A few minutes later, he said, he saw officers drag a handcuffed, bleeding man out of the apartment. He said the man was screaming.
"It was pretty chaotic," Lee said.
When the shooting occurred, Richmond police were following leads in an attempted robbery shortly before 7 a.m. at Main Street Gulf near downtown Richmond, Purdy said.
Missi McCoy, manager of the station, said a regular customer was the victim of the attempted robbery.
"She came in as she does every morning, and when she went back out to her car she was attacked by a man who jumped out of a van," McCoy said. "He tried to get her purse. She fought with him, and a young man who was walking to work came to assist her."
The foiled robber jumped back into the van, which drove away. He was a tall, thin man wearing a brown shirt, McCoy said.
The customer returned to the store to report the attack and that the attacker had a gun. McCoy dialed 911.
The man who came to the customer's aid was able to get the license number and a description of the van, McCoy said.
The woman was not hurt, "but of course, she was very shook up," McCoy said. "She fought back. And she said when she saw the gun, that 'I'm not going to die like this.' She was very courageous."
McCoy, who has managed the station for four years, said, "We have never had anything like this happen.
"It's shocking because there are police cars in and out of here all day long because we supply fuel for the city. First responders are here quite often."
The woman's husband came to pick her up, and she went to the Richmond police department to give a statement. The man who came to her aid also gave a statement to police.
"I'm very glad our customer is OK," McCoy said. "I'm heartbroken that a police officer was injured over this incident."
Wednesday's shooting happened not far from a shooting Sunday on Turpin Drive in Richmond. Ronnie L. Kelly, 37, died from a gunshot wound to the head. Richmond police charged Adrian A. Collins, 28, with murder. Melissa Collins, the mother of Adrian Collins, was charged with tampering with evidence.