Families of shooting victims react to DOJ probe

Posted at: 11/27/2012 8:01 PM
Updated at: 11/27/2012 11:26 PM
By: Maria Guererro, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Photo: Kenneth Ellis III
Photo: Kenneth Ellis III

Families of suspects killed by Albuquerque police officers are calling Tuesday's developments 'monumental.'

One of the high profile cases involved an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD.

The veteran's father said he's relieved the Department of Justice is stepping in to investigate APD.

Kenneth Ellis stops at the 7-Eleven on Constitution and Eubank just about every month. Spraying a new coat of paint on a memorial for his son. Every stroke, every layer helps him heal.

"I come up here about once a month or so and make promises to my boy," said Ellis. This is his way of honoring his only son, Kenneth Ellis III. "There was other ways to do this. My boy didn't have to die," he said, looking at a large cross covering a handicap parking spot in the gas station's parking lot.

Ellis III was killed in the parking lot by a cop. The 25-year-old was a veteran. He served in Iraq, was a Purple Heart recipient and like many others came home with scare of war: PTSD. "What this police department did to this veteran is wrong," said Ellis, spraying on a new layer.

In January 2010, undercover police stopped Ellis III in the parking lot on suspicion of driving a stolen car. Ellis said the car wasn't stolen. He gave his son the Corvette he was driving. Both Ellis and APD agree Ellis held a gun up to his head. Police say he refused to put it down. He was then shot. APD said officers didn't know he was a veteran or that he was suffering from PTSD.

"This is where my son was laying, right here," Ellis pointed to the exact spot near the cross.

For more than two years, this father has combed the city, looking for signatures to start an independent investigation into what he called APD's "excessive and deadly force."

"How can they justify shooting people the way they're doing it and my son's not the only one," he said. "They've shot young men in the back and justified shooting that person in the back."

Ellis said he's meeting with DOJ officials Wednesday to talk about what happened to his son and to help in the investigation of APD.