A Kentucky police officer died Friday morning after he was shot in the head earlier this week while searching for a robbery suspect, authorities said.
Richmond Police Officer Daniel Ellis, 33, died at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, according to a statement from Kentucky State Police.
“The Richmond Police Department is extremely grateful for the prayers and support that have been extended to Officer Daniel Ellis, his family, friends, and fellow officers,” the statement said. “They ask that you continue to pray for them as they grieve this tremendous loss, and that the privacy of the family is respected during this very difficult and trying time.”
Ellis, a seven-year member of the department, went with another officer to an apartment Wednesday morning in Richmond — about 25 miles south of Lexington — to search for an armed robber who had tried to mug a woman at a downtown gas station, authorities told the Associated Press.
While in the apartment, a man pulled a firearm and shot Ellis, state police said in a statement. The other officer returned fire and struck the man, who survived.
Ellis was transported to the University of Kentucky hospital, where he had been in critical condition before his death, state police said. He was the 32nd on-duty officer shot and killed in the United States in 2015, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a nonprofit group that tracks line-of-duty fatalities.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Officer Daniel Ellis who lost his life in devotion to keeping us safe,” Kentucky governor-elect Matt Bevin said on Twitter.
Raleigh Sizemore, 34, the suspect, was also transported to the hospital, where he was treated for his injuries and released into police custody. He has been charged with attempted murder of a police officer and unlawful imprisonment, according to booking records.
Madison County attorney Marc Robbins told The Washington Post that he is “certain the charges will be elevated” now that the officer has died.
Two others who were in the apartment — Gregory Ratliff, 25, and Rita Creech, 44 — were charged with complicity to commit murder and robbery in the first degree, respectively. The two are being held at the Madison County Detention Center, according to booking records.
Sizemore has been transported to the Kentucky State Reformatory.
Robbins said Sizemore has been appointed a public advocate in past legal matters and assumes he will use one in this case.
Sizemore’s arraignment is expected to be set for early next week.
Funeral arrangements for Ellis will be set in the next several days.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes told the Associated Press. “It’s an emotional time for everyone in the community. Those guys work so hard to protect the city.”
Ellis is the second police officer to be killed by gunfire in Kentucky this year. In September, Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was shot and killed during a car chase.
Ponder, 31, had pulled over a vehicle in western Kentucky and discovered that the driver had an expired license. The driver, Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, fled the scene in the vehicle; during a subsequent car chase, police said, Johnson-Shanks leaned out of the vehicle and opened fire, striking Ponder, who died at a nearby hospital.
Johnson-Shanks was later shot by a member of the State Police Special Response Team and died at a nearby medical facility.
This story has been updated.