BARDSTOWN — Kentucky State Police issued a public plea again Tuesday for someone to come forward with tips that will lead to an arrest and conviction in the 2013 shooting death of Bardstown police officer Jason Ellis.
That there hasn't been an arrest more than 19 months after Ellis was killed "is frustrating for everybody involved," state police Lt. Jeremy Thompson said during a news conference at the Bardstown Police Department. "What we need is someone who will step up with information.
"From the beginning, we all thought, 'We'll find somebody soon. Somebody will tell us something soon. We'll get that tip,'" Thompson said. "And, unfortunately, it just has not happened."
There is a $185,000 reward for anyone who has a tip that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible, plus $33,000 offered by another donor, for a total of $218,000, Thompson said. State police don't administer the money, most of which sits in a local bank, Thompson said.
Ellis, 33, was ambushed as he headed home on May 25, 2013. He was hit with multiple shotgun blasts after he got out of a department pool car to pick up tree limbs on an exit ramp from Blue Grass Parkway. Police suspect that the limbs were put there deliberately so he would stop.
"I've never been part of an investigation that's taken this long to solve that had the significance of this one," Thompson said.
Making an arrest is only one part of the investigation, Thompson said. Police need information to make an arrest and conviction stick.
"It's not as simple as someone saying, 'We think John did it.' Well, we can't just go talk to that person and they're going to confess to the murder of a police officer," Thompson said. "There's a lot more background, a lot more investigative work that must be done."
Thompson was asked about the possibility that whoever killed Ellis might already be in jail on unrelated charges. Thompson said police have visited people at jails and prisons. "We have been to correctional facilities across this state and other states and talked to people," he said. "None of those have gone any further than just those discussions."