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    Eugene Ellison shot twice in the chest

    6:51 PM, Dec 10, 2010   |    comments
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    • Officer Donna Lesher
    • Officer Tabitha McCillis
        

    One officer shot Eugene Ellison twice in the chest during an altercation at the Big Country Chateau apartment complex.

    Neighbors describe the 67 year-old as a loner.

    "He used to walk back and forth to the store everyday and he seems like a nice man," said neighbor Linda Smith.

    Another neighbor, Stephanie Ravion says, "[Ellison] never seemed like the kind of violent person."

    But Little Rock police say it was Ellison's violent behavior Thursday night, at his apartment on Colonel Glenn, that forced an officer to kill him.

    Two female officers, Donna Lesher and Tabitha McCrillis, were working security when they saw Ellison's door open and his apartment in disarray.

    "They went inside to check on his welfare and at that time he advanced on the officers and began fighting," said Lt. Terry Hastings.

    During the course of about 4 minutes, officers Donna Lesher and Tabitha McCrillis scuffled with Ellison, pepper sprayed him twice, and hit him with a baton, which he then took and used on them.

    "The officers were fighting for all their strength. Even though the gentleman was 67 years old, he was still in very good shape and was very strong," said Hastings.

    Then finally, Lesher shot him point-blank after he allegedly refused to quit swinging a wooden cane at her. Still, neighbors question if deadly force was necessary.

    "If they had handled that a little better, none of that would have happened," said Smith.

    Ravion says the officers should have never entered Ellison's home.

    "There wasn't a call there. They walked by, the door was opened and they just went in," said Ravion.

    Police have learned Ellison was treated for emotional problems in the past and are working with his family to figure out why he attacked the officers. They have worked 368 calls to that complex in the last three years -- including several murders.

    That, plus Thursday's officer-involved shooting have put Ravion on edge.

    "Makes you kind of scared and nervous," she said.

    Doctors treated the two officers for minor injuries. They are on routine administrative leave as the incident is being investigated.

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