Former Cincinnati Minor Leaguer Jason Ellis was killed early Sunday morning in what Kentucky police are calling an ambush murder.
Ellis, who played two seasons in the Reds system from 2003-'04 before pursuing a career as a police officer, was found on a highway exit ramp on the Blue Grass Parkway in Kentucky on Sunday. State Police said Ellis, 33, had stopped his cruiser with lights flashing to pick up debris from the road. He was shot multiple times with a shotgun and later found lying in uniform outside his parked police car, according to multiple reports.
Police believe Ellis was intentionally ambushed and murdered in a planned attack and are seeking help from the public for more information.
"Currently we have no suspects and that is why we are asking for the public to help," Master Trooper Norman Chaffins told WKYT. "Someone planned this and someone planned to shoot somebody in that location at that exact time."
Ellis, who was involved with the local county Little League and worked as a K-9 officer for seven years, originally signed with the Reds as a free agent on June 2, 2002. A right-handed catcher, Ellis debut in 2003 with the Reds' Gulf Coast League affiliate, where he hit .267 with five RBIs and 12 hits in 21 games. The University of the Cumberlands product appeared in 21 games for the Rookie-level Billings Mustangs in 2004, where he hit .250 with a homer, five RBIs and five doubles in 19 games.
Ellis played with three players in 2004 who went on to reach the Majors: Paul Janish, Craig Tatum and Ramon Ramirez. A decorated player at The Cumberlands, Ellis is the school's all-time career batting average leader at .389 and ranks No. 1 in hits (246), doubles (60), home runs (34), RBIs (183) and games played (186).
Jason Ellis' career stats
The married father of two was a seven-year veteran with Bardstown, he received the Governor's Award for Impaired Driving Enforcement for 2007 and '08 and was named the Officer of the Year in 2008.
"An officer dying in the line of duty is tragic enough but to know that it wasn't a traffic stop or arrest that went bad but that someone actually took the time to plan it makes it that much more painful," Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin told WKYT. "It makes you mad."
The Kentucky State Police have offered a $6,000 reward for information about Ellis' death.