Jay Leno surprises fallen Richmond officer's widow

Published: Apr. 23, 2016 at 10:24 PM EDT
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It's been a tough five months for the family of a fallen Richmond police officer. Officer Daniel Ellis was shot and killed during a robbery investigation in November. Since then, the community has found ways to support his family. Saturday Saint Mark Roman Catholic Church teamed up with a famous comedian to cheer up Daniel Ellis' widow, Katie Ellis.

Jay Leno was in Richmond Saturday night, joking around with Father Jim Sichko like they were old friends. The night of laughter raised money for the church and honored law enforcement. Katie Ellis attended the event.

"It's bittersweet, you know? I'd rather just be sitting on the couch with Daniel, but that can't happen," said Ellis. "So, I feel like the community is really healing with me."

This is the last year for the fundraiser called "An Evening Among Friends." Former talk show host and comedian Jay Leno came to Richmond to help Father Jim raise money for the St. Mark Catholic Church and school, as well as the Officer Daniel Ellis Memorial Foundation.

"You know everybody thinks the world is such a terrible place, but there are more good people than there are bad people and we hear about the bad people. You know, it's like this police officer that was killed in the line of duty he was a good man," said Jay Leno.

The murder of Daniel Ellis hit very close to home for Father Jim Sichko and his parish. "Let's not forget the whole incident started at St. Mark," said Sichko. "A kindergarten teacher was robbed by that individual, that assailant. Daniel, Officer Ellis was coming to assist us."

Sichko surprised Ellis with an all-expense paid trip to Disney World for her and her three-year-old son, Luke. That wasn't the only surprise of the night. Leno surprised her with $10,000 for Luke's college fund.

"I'd like to see him go to college," said Leno. "Police officers don't make enough money anyway and when you lose the bread winner of the family, it's the saddest thing in the world."

"It is very surreal," Katie Ellis said. "We're just regular people that have unfortunately been put in this position and we lost Daniel and we're very honored that someone like Jay Leno would care just a little. It means the world."

Ellis says she can't thank the community enough for all the support, and a night full of surprises and laughter with Jay Leno.