Ronald Ellis, wanted for murder at Target, arrested

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CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. --Ronald Ellis, the Memphis firefighter wanted for a murder outside a Memphis Target store, was arrested Thursday.

Deputies had to use a stun gun to take him into custody.

Ellis is charged with killing 33-year-old Torhonda Cathey Monday outside of the Target store on Colonial Road.

The Florida Highway Patrol saw his car on Highway 95 and followed it to Camden County, Georgia. Deputies stopped the car using spike strips.

Ellis showed deputies a gun, but didn't point it at them. After some negotiation, he dropped it.

We're told he still would not surrender, so a stun gun was used.

Ellis is in Camden County Jail awaiting extradition.

He has been arrested on at least two occasions for domestic violence and disciplined by the fire department.

Ellis was sent to counseling for the domestic violence arrests, but WREG discovered he was also violent at work.

WREG met with Memphis Fire Department Director Alvin Benson after the arrest. He confirmed that the fire department has investigated Ellis twice, most recently in January of this year after police arrested him for domestic violence.

The other investigation stemmed from a report that Ellis "shoved" a female co-worker in 2007.

Ellis has had other run-ins with the law, but Benson said each case is evaluated in a case by case basis and none warranted his firing.

Even so, Benson said firing Ellis might not have saved Cathey.

"I think it could be a mistake to assume that policy can prevent those types of things. To suggest that had an individual been terminated earlier, then this wouldn’t have happened. I think that’s probably drawing a bad conclusion," Benson said.

WREG asked Benson if Ellis's violent past endangered the lives of the community or other responders, and Benson said no. He said there's no set number of offenses an employee may commit before being fired, but did sayEllis would have been fired if he had committed one more crime.

As of Thursday, Ellis, who is a driver at the fire department at the airport, is currently on leave without pay.


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