(TWC News Rochester)
CLARENDON, N.Y. — An early-morning gun fight in a wooded area in Orleans County left one man dead and an Orleans County Sheriff’s deputy injured. It all began just before 3 a.m. in the town of Shelby. It ended about 20 miles away, in the front yard of a Clarendon family.
“We get a fair amount of deer versus car accidents out here, so I just assumed it was that,” said Clarendon resident Chris Wing.
Chris said around 3 a.m., his wife woke up to a loud crash. The couple soon realized someone, who they later would learn was James Ellis, 44, took out the telephone pole in their front yard.
“When we looked out the window we saw there were a fair number of police officers around,” Chris said.
That’s when Chris and his wife heard gunshots coming from across the street. His son Mark had left his parent’s home late Friday night after babysitting his son. Mark said they were going to stay the night but decided not to at the last minute.
The deadly night started on Mill Street in Shelby. According to deputies, a 911 call came in for a domestic dispute. Deputies said Ellis was fighting with an ex-girlfriend.
“It was reported there was a man with a gun on the front porch,” Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess said.
But by the time deputies got to the home, Ellis was nowhere to be found – until his car ended up in Wing’s front yard off of Route 31A in Clarendon.
“As they exited their vehicles, as they observed this accident scene they were taking on gun fire,” Chief Deputy Thomas Drennan said.
Authorities said Ellis shot Deputy James DeFilipps twice in the stomach.
“Fortunately, he was hit in the vest,” Hess said.
DeFilipps was treated and released from Strong Hospital. Ellis was shot and killed. Bullet holes are all that show the less-than-a-minute gun fight at the scene. A cross stands where Ellis died.
The Wing family is grateful for the quick response of authorities.
Hess said Deputy DeFilipps is a 12-year veteran with the organization. The investigation is ongoing. The Orleans County district attorney said the case will most likely go before a grand jury to make sure the incident was handled properly.