Family speaks out on shooting deaths of relative & dog

Published: Jul. 11, 2012 at 10:28 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - The family of a fatal shooting victim in Henrico is speaking out on their loved one's death — and the violent loss of their dog — on the same day.

As Henrico Police pieced together the homicide Wednesday morning, a sickening feeling rattled Latoya Ellerbe, after she couldn't reach her brother.

"I kept on calling his cell phone all night, all morning. I couldn't sleep, and I kept on getting strange feelings," said Latoya Ellerbe.

Her intuition was tragically correct. Latoya said her brother, Ricky Ellerbe, 32, was shot and killed at close range. His body was discovered face-down near Carroll and 20th Streets. Neighbors say the route where he was found is used frequently by people walking to the store nearby.

Latoya said the reality was piercing as police knocked on her family's door.

"We just started crying before they (police) said, 'Ricky has been shot, and he's dead.' We were just going off," described Latoya of hearing the devastating news.

Stricken with grief, Latoya ran outside her home. She said one of the officers followed, but the family's pit bull, Tiger, charged at him.

"The dog never jumped on him, but he (the police officer) just took out his gun and shot him," said Latoya.

Latoya said she understands why the policeman fired. "…If a dog came charging at me, I'd defend myself," she added.

However, Ricky's family said there was no reason for Ricky's death.

"He just went to the store to get a soda...and he never made it back," said Shannan Ellerbe, Ricky's aunt.

Relatives say police believe it was a robbery since his cell phone was missing. Now, they're left to grieve the loved one they describe as quiet, but fun loving.

"He could walk into a room and you would just instantly start smiling, and you would just light up when you see him," said Shannan.

"The person who did this...they need to be found and buried under the jail," said Latoya.

Anyone who knows anything about this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 780-1000.

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