GLEN ESTE, Ohio - More than 100 people from community of Glen Este gathered together Sunday in remembrance of Bardstown, Ky., police officer and hometown hero, Jason Ellis.
The Batavia native and 1998 graduate of Glen Este High School was shot and killed on his way home from work May 25.
To honor his memory, a vigil was scheduled at the high school's baseball field, where Ellis starred as an athlete before going on to play in the Cincinnati Reds minor league system.
One of Ellis' former classmates at Glen Este High School, Melanie Reveal, organized the event for friends, family and people in the community who were not able to attend his funeral in Bardstown on Thursday.
"There was a big group of us that we were all friends. We had a great class, most of the people that have helped classmates or friends, got the idea because I couldn't go on Thursday," Reveal said.
Jason Meenach was one of those people was another childhood friend who wanted to take the chance to honor Ellis, a man he holds in the highest esteem as a person.
"If this world had a lot more Jason Ellis out there, we wouldn't have these kinds of tragedies," Meenach said. "I can only hope they find the person who did this and justice is brought."
Reveal and other event planners painted the number he wore as a player, No. 5, on the field as a tribute to the friend and former baseball standout they will always remember. They also wrote out his number with plastic cups on the fence around the field, an additional allusion to his playing days and formative years spent in the community.
"If it wasn't for Jason Ellis our senior year, we'd have not been nearly as good," said Mike Edwards who played baseball with Ellis during high school. "He was conference player of the year, led the city in home runs. Without him, we would have never been the team we were."
Photos of Ellis and his family, which include his wife and two sons, ages 6 and 7, were also placed around the field.
A candlelight vigil took place at the end of the service, which ran throughout the evening.
The Batavia community has continuously reached out to the Ellis family since learning that a gunman ambushed Ellis on Bluegrass Parkway exit 34 during that early Saturday morning.
On Thursday, members of the community visited Ellis' former church, First Baptist Church of Glen Este, to pay their respects and watch the funeral services on television.
In addition to honoring life, the group is trying to pay respect to Ellis' memory by establishing a scholarship fund in his name. Donations will go to someone who plans to go into law enforcement.
Outside of Glen Este and around the country, people have offered money to help bring to justice the person responsible for Ellis' death.
A reward fund in the case has surpassed $133,000, including a $50,000 donation from Louisville businessman Gus Goldsmith and a $33,000 donation from Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby.
According to the Bardstown police department's Facebook page , here's how to donate to either the officer's family or the reward fund set up through the family and the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #43:
Make checks payable to Officer Jason Ellis Memorial Fund or the Officer Jason Ellis Reward Fund. Specify which fund.
Checks can be sent in each fund's name to Chief Rick McCubbin, Bardstown Police Department, 212 Nelson County Plaza, Bardstown, Ky., 40004. Donations also can be made at any Muir Bank branch in Bardstown.