Answers sought in murder of church volunteer
300 show up for meeting between police, community
By Kyle Barnett - Jan 02, 2014
More than 300 stunned members of the St. Rose community showed up for a meeting held by the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office concerning the murder of 23-year-old Ramal Ellis.
The meeting was held at the Fifth African Baptist Church in St. Rose. Ellis’ body, which was riddled with bullet wounds, was discovered behind the church on Nov. 28.
Currently, police have no suspects in the case.
Rev. Gerald Vinnett, pastor at Fifth African Baptist Church, said it came as a shock that Ellis, who was a former Destrehan High School football player and was weeks away from graduating from Southern University, was targeted in a violent crime.
“He was fine young man and he was a positive influence on our community. He is very much missed,” he said.
Vinnett said Ellis was a leader within the worship community.
“He was very involved in every aspect (of the church) that people can be – youth ministry, Sunday school, teaching ministries, outreach ministries. He was well respected and highly regarded,” he said.
According to Vinnett, Ellis’ murder is just another blow to the St. Rose community, which within the past few years has seen a higher number of murders than other parts of St. Charles Parish.
“Those who were (at the meeting) are very invested in whoever is responsible for (the murder) and how we can move along with the Sheriff’s Office in assisting and preventing things like what happened as well as making all of our communities safer,” Vinnett said.
Although Ellis is gone, Vinnett said the community can still come together to keep other murders from occurring. “My main purpose is preventative and to keep this from happening again,” he said.
At the meeting, concerned neighborhood residents met to discuss the unsolved murder and to get updates on other high profile cases in the area. The Sheriff’s Office also offered crime prevention tips and information on overall crime trends.
“It was a very positive meeting. The focus of the meeting was to build a partnership with the community,” Capt. Pat Yoes, Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said.
Ellis’ murder was the fifth in St. Charles Parish in 2013. Yoes said there are currently no leads in the murder investigation.
“I have nothing to respond on regarding possible leads. We continue to actively investigate the homicide,” he said. Anyone with information regarding Ellis’ murder is asked to contact Det. Jeremy Pitchford at (985) 783-1135 or (985) 783-6807.
Those with information may also contact Crimestoppers at 1 (877) 903-STOP. You do not have to give your name or testify and could receive up to $2,500 for information leading to a conviction.
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