BARDSTOWN, Ky. - At times holding back tears, Amy Ellis, the wife of slain police officer Jason Ellis, described a husband and father who made it as much his mission in life to make people laugh, as well as protect them.
"He was very goofy," Amy said with a smile, flanked by Bardstown police officers and family during a Tuesday press conference. "He loved to make everybody laugh."
Kentucky State Police and the Bardstown Police Department continue to investigate the death of Jason, 33, who was found shot dead in his cruiser near the Bluegrass Parkway exit 34 early Saturday morning. Police indicate an unknown gunman ambushed Ellis as he cleared debris from the road in front of him. The Batavia, Ohio, native, 1998 Glen Este graduate and former Cincinnati Reds minor leaguer, worked as a K-9 officer for the Bardstown Police Department for the past seven years.
The outreach of the community, and support groups such as Supporting Heroes, has helped Amy find the strength to help her children and be strong, she said.
"I wanted to thank everyone for their support, honor, love and prayers," Amy said of the outpouring of community report she received since Jason's death Saturday. "The only reason I can get up here right now is because of prayers. I didn't want to live another second without him."
Amy met Jason at the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., on Valentine's Day 12 years ago when they both were in college, she said.
"We were inseparable ever since. He was my best friend," she said.
That bond, she added, led Jason to let go of playing for the Cincinnati Reds as a minor league player when she became pregnant with their first son, who is now 7 years old. He left his final season of minor league baseball, of which he played from 2002-2005, early to be with her.
Amy said when she asked him if he would regret that decision later, Jason's answer was simple.
"He said he had a lot of dreams, and one of them was to be a police officer," she said.
The Ellis family would go on to have a second son, who is now 6.
"[The children are doing] as good as can be expected," Amy said. "They know their daddy is not coming back. The oldest, he got hurt yesterday (Memorial Day) and that's when he started letting it all out. He screamed and screamed and screamed and said he wanted his daddy."
As far as what she will miss most about her husband?
"Where would I even start? His goofy smile. The way he made me laugh. The way he smelled. I don't even know. There's not one thing I would say I miss most about him. I miss everything."
The Bardstown Police Department is offering a $6,000 reward for tips leading to an arrest in the slaying of Jason.
Jason will be buried near Bardstown, located approximately 40 miles south of Louisville. Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday from from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Parkway Baptist Church in Bardstown and the funeral will take place at the church Thursday at 11 a.m.
Amy Ellis asked any donations or support be directed to Supporting Heroes. That organization's website is http://www.supportingheroes.org .
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