Dive Team Now Involved In Slain Officer's Investigation

Jun 27, 2013

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Police divers searched a pond Thursday near where a Kentucky police officer was gunned down as investigators sought clues in the ambush slaying.

Trained canines led investigators to the pond a few hundred yards from the highway exit ramp where Bardstown K-9 Officer Jason Ellis was killed in the early morning hours of May 25. Ellis was struck by multiple shotgun blasts after he got out of his cruiser to pick up tree limbs strewn on the ramp off the Bluegrass Parkway, about nine miles east of Bardstown. Ellis was headed home at the time.

"We don't know what we're going to find," state police Master Trooper Norman Chaffins said Thursday. "The best-case scenario, we find something directly related to the murder of Officer Ellis." The worst case is that "it's a stone that we've turned over ... and that can do nothing but help narrow our investigation."

A Louisville police dive team was brought in to search the pond, he said.

Chaffins said he thought it was the first time the pond had been searched.

No suspects have been identified in the slaying.

The new twist in the weeks-old investigation came after the arrival of new dogs supplied by an "outside organization," Chaffins said. He declined to identify which group provided the dogs or the canines' specialty in police work.

Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin has said he thinks the 33-year-old officer was targeted in the slaying.

The shooting prompted an outpouring of grief in Bardstown, a town of about 12,000 some 40 miles southeast of Louisville. Hundreds of people attended Ellis' funeral and even more lined roads to the country cemetery where he was buried. A black granite plaque honoring Ellis was dedicated this week.