RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - Three people were charged Wednesday after an officer was shot in the head while investigating an attempted robbery that occurred earlier at a gas station.
The officer, identified in a police report as Richmond police officer Daniel Ellis, was shot while conducting a search inside a residence in the 500 block of Ballard Drive. Police reports say Ellis was given permission to enter the home, and he was under the impression that no one else was inside when he was shot by a man in the back of the house.
Ellis was rushed to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital with life-threatening injuries. An update on his condition was not immediately available.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said the investigation at the home stemmed from an attempted robbery at 7 a.m. Wednesday at a Gulf gas station.
Manager Missi McCoy says while a customer was in the store when the suspect, who we now believe is Raleigh Sizemore, pulled around to the side of the building. Surveillance video shows the back passenger door starting to open. When the customer walked back out to her car, the van then pulls right up to her and out of the camera's view. The manager who was here at the time says what you can't see is a man jumping out of that van attempting to rob the customer at gun point.
McCoy says Richmond police quickly got to her store and were able to get a detailed description from a passerby as well as pictures from surveillance video. It was that vehicle description that then led them to the apartment on Ballard drive where Ellis was shot.
According to a police report, Ellis was looking for Sizemore at Gregory Ratliff's home. Sizemore was at the residence with Rita Creech, who has since been charged with robbery. Ratliff says Sizemore told him "not to let them in or he would shoot him."
The report says Sizemore, who told Ratliff that he did not want to go back to prison, then pulled out a handgun. Ratliff said Sizemore led Creech to the back bedroom with his gun. Shortly after that, Ratliff allowed Ellis to search the residence and told Ellis there were no weapons in the home.
Ellis began searching the home, and Ratliff never told him Sizemore was waiting in the bedroom with a handgun.
The report says "Sizemore fired the weapon to shoot officer Ellis in the head as soon as he began to cross the threshold of the bedroom door." A second officer returned fire, striking Sizemore.
A neighbor told WKYT she initially heard three shots, then two more shots were fired. She then saw an officer performing CPR on Ellis. She said it was obvious his injury was to his head.
Both men were rushed to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital. State police told us earlier, there are a lot officers inside the hospital supporting each other.
The officer's injuries "sound very severe," Purdy said. He said it was a "tragic and unfortunate" incident.
“There really aren't any words to try to put on what it's like to have a fellow colleague and somebody you know and work with in a small community suffering these kind of injuries, and being at the hospital, it really is just a scary thing,” he said.
KSP Trooper Bernie Napier was among those at the hospital.
"It's very quiet. A lot of hung heads," Napier said. "There's a lot of crying. people are concerned, hoping for the best. It's very nice to have all the support. I know Richmond PD are thankful and humbled by the support."
Sizemore was released Wednesday afternoon from UK Hospital, and he has been booked at the Madison County jail. He has been charged with attempted murder of a police officer and unlawful imprisonment.
Ratliff is charged with complicity to attempted murder of a police officer. According to court documents, Ratliff has an extensive criminal history, which includes charges for drugs and violence.
During an exclusive jailhouse interview Wednesday, Ratliff told WKYT that he "wasn't involved" in what transpired Wednesday.
"I didn't pull the trigger," Ratliff said. "I didn't make him shoot that cop. I'm not the one that was hiding in the bedroom. I'm the one who opened the door and say they could search and everything."
Ratliff said he lied to officer Ellis and he know Sizemore was in a bedroom armed with a gun. But he says he lied because he was afraid of Sizemore. He didn't know Sizemore was going to shoot anyone and once that happened he says he ran from the apartment, Ratliff said.
"It was messed up, I don't know. I just didn't want nothing to do with it," he said. "I got the hell out of there before I could. Now I'm in here on charges I didn't even do."
According to state records, Sizemore, 34, served three years of a 10 year sentence for manufacturing methamphetamine and criminal mischief. He was on parole, which was scheduled to end in June of 2018, but he absconded.