Police captured the suspect they believe is connected to the Target parking lot shooting that left 33-year-old Torhonda Cathey dead on Monday.
Memphis firefighter Ronald Ellis (pictured right) is now charged with first-degree murder. But, this is not his first brush with the law. Ellis has a checkered history. See some of his past in the timeline below.
A former Memphis firefighter accused of shooting his ex-girlfriend multiple times in an East Memphis Target parking lot sits in the Shelby County jail. Ellis awaits trial for first-degree murder.
The man accused of shooting and killing his ex-girlfriend in an East Memphis Target parking lot was captured near the Georgia-Florida state line. Click here.
Police have identified Memphis firefighter Ronald Ellis as the suspect in the shooting that left 33-year-old Torhonda Cathey dead.
According to witnesses, Cathey was shot three times through her driver's side door in a Target parking lot. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later died from her injuries.
A woman is shot at least twice in an East Memphis Target parking lot. The 33-year-old later dies at the hospital, and an off-duty firefighter becomes the suspected shooter.
Cathey filed a police report against Ellis because he had been following her all over the city all day, and then he followed her to her apartment. Investigators say Ellis approached her car on foot, started an argument, and kicked the back passenger door, which left a dent and an imprint of his shoe, all while Cathey's 8-year-old son was in the car.
Ellis was due in court in Olive Branch Tuesday morning after an arrest on a charge of malicious mischief over $500, domestic violence-simple assault, stalking, and driving on expired tags. Records list the victim in that case is listed Torhonda Cathey.
Ellis was arrested for a March 13, 2007 incident in which he shoved a fellow firefighter/paramedic in her upper body with his forearm during an argument over job duties.
For that incident, he was suspended 72 hours without pay, costing him $1,182.44.
This woman told WMC Action News 5 the harassment started in 2007 after the pair broke off their relationship. It didn't stop until she filed a restraining order.
Between 2003 and 2004 police were called out three times by a woman who said Ellis harassed and assaulted her.
In a police report from 2004 police reported Ellis, "grabbed the victim around the throat and began choking her ... and the suspect also bit the victim's neck."
"Some people in your life are just real special," her father, Gurnett Cathey said through sniffles. "Hard to explain but ... God does things for a reason."
According to her family, Torhonda Cathey graduated from Independence High School in Tate County and then got an accounting degree from Mississippi State University. She worked for Shelby County School District at the main headquarters on Hollywood Street in the business office. She is the mother of an 8-year-old son.
During her lunch hour on Monday afternoon, Cathey went to Target at 601 Colonial Road. As she was getting into her car to leave, she was shot three times, once in the leg and twice in the back at point black range, according to eyewitnesses. Paramedics rushed her to the hospital in critical condition.
Cathey was pronounced dead at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.
The shooter sped away from the scene in a white 2014 Ford Focus bearing Louisiana tag N365353, which sources say was a rental car. An eyewitness ran after the suspect and took cell phone pictures of the car.
Memphis police believe Ellis, a Memphis firefighter, killed Cathey. After a five-hour standoff outside Ellis' house, police came out empty handed.
As of Tuesday, MFD Director Alvin Benson said Ellis was on leave without pay. He was scheduled to work Tuesday morning at fire station 9.
"We express our condolences to the family of Ms. Cathey for their tragic, tragic, tragic loss," Benson said during the conference. "In the past 24 hours, I guess I can say that my emotions have gone from shock to outrage to shock to sadness to bewilderment—a number of things."
If you have any information that may help investigators in the case on Ronald Ellis, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.
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If you have any information that may help investigators in the case on Ronald Ellis, call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH. (Source: MPD)