Henrico police shoot pet as they notify family of sons’ homicide

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Bill McKelway

A bereft Henrico County family says its son died near Cool Lane, robbed of his life and $15. “He’d taken the bus up to my place to borrow the money last night; he just wanted a video or something,” said Henry Hamiel.

Hamiel’s nephew, Ricky Ellerbe, 33, turned up shot to death hours later, about eight blocks from his home and just yards from the all-night convenience store on Mechanicsville Turnpike that had been his destination.

“He probably had been out there dead all night,” said Ellerbe’s mother, Nannie, sitting on the stoop of her home in the 2900 block of Fairfield Avenue.

“We called and called and called and no one answered,” she said. Her cellphone and the few dollars Ricky Ellerbe carried may have been the only items taken from an apparent robbery, the family said.

Henrico investigators swarmed the area with forensics technicians and tracking dogs, but no arrest had been reported Wednesday night. Ellerbe was one of five children; a brother, Gary, died in 2010 from a heart attack, three years after he’d been repeatedly stabbed.

And in a horrific turn of events, a Henrico police officer shot and killed the Ellerbe family pitbull, Tiger, as it charged toward the officer off its leash.

The unidentified officer and a detective had arrived at the home to notify family members that Ellerbe had been killed. His body was discovered shortly after 6 a.m. Wednesday, face down near an alley.

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