ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – It has been a painful past few weeks for the wife and five children of a St. Louis County police officer who was killed in the line of duty.
“It’s a rough time. But we’re trying our best,” Ethan Ellis, 17, said. Ethan is the son of James “Mitch” Ellis.
Mitch Ellis, 49, was killed in a vehicle accident on October 11. He was driving from the St. Louis County Police Jennings Precinct to his home in Hecker, Illinois when a vehicle slammed into his car head-on on Illinois 159.
Ethan said he remembers that night well.
“Somebody working at the hospital told us that they were going to have the chief come right in. And that’s when we knew for sure,” he said. “When we were in the waiting room, my mother and I looked at each other with the realization that it wasn’t going to end well.”
Mitch Ellis left behind a wife and five children. Ethan is the oldest. The youngest is 9.
Ellis and his wife had been together 24 years when he passed, Ethan said.
Ethan Ellis said his father embodied the image of a “family man.”
“He was so great to us in that way. He did everything in his power to help us at all times. And that’s something we really miss. He was a great dad to us,” he said.
The family man was also a man in uniform. He was a US Marine before he joined the St. Louis County Police Department, where he served for eight years.
“He went every day to work, and every day he left, and we knew that there was a chance he wouldn’t come home. And that’s something we dealt with, and that’s something he himself dealt with. He went to work today knowing, ‘I could go to work today, and be killed.’ And he wanted to. Because that was a job he was passionate about and cared for,” Ethan Ellis said.
While the Ellis children are without a father, they are not without a family. They now have an extended family, which includes fellow law enforcement officers and related organizations.
Among those organizations – the St. Louis County Police Family Association, which has provided everything from meals to household help, and if needed, counseling.
The greatest aide is coming from BackStoppers, which has committed long-term support for the Ellis family. An initial $10,000 check was presented to the Ellises, for immediate expenses.
“It’s kind of staggering just to look and see all these people I’ve never met before see how much they really do care for my father or what they did. And just want to help us,” Ethan Ellis said. “I believe we live in a world that’s full of a lot of darkness. But at the same time, you see stuff like this, and you have to realize, there’s still a lot of good in the world. You’ve done so much for us, and I just can’t even begin to say, thank you.”