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Pembroke neighbourhood guardian killed in his home

Pembroke neighbourhood guardian killed in his home

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The community of Pembroke is still reeling from the loss of one of its members, who has been described as a fallen hero.{{more}}

Some time after 1:00 on the morning of Sunday, December 4, residents of the village, situated on the Leeward end of St. Vincent, were awakened by the sounds of gunshots and screams coming from the home of Ewart King, affectionately known as “Ells”.

When neighbours entered the home, King was found lying on the dining room floor, situated on the lower level of the two-story house, with knife wounds to his body.

According to a police report, he was taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, where he died.

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the area later that morning, neighbours of the deceased were still at the residence, consoling each other, as they discussed what had transpired earlier.

Curious onlookers were also present surveying the scene, which showed a trail of blood exiting a bedroom on the lower level and forming a pool in the area where King collapsed.

Bloody prints of bare feet could also be seen exiting the house, through a kitchen window adjoining the dining room, and what appeared to be a bullet hole, was seen in the ceiling of the dining room.

Persons willing to speak with SEARCHLIGHT conveyed their hurt, dismay, shock and anger over what they determined to be the senseless killing of the man, who was described as a friend to all.

A close friend of King and his family described what she saw and heard, just moments after “the neighbourhood watchman” was attacked.

“I heard screaming coming from outside, and heard somebody calling for help. When I look out I saw movements in the yard and I was afraid.”

The neighbour said that a short while after, King’s wife and their four children were taken from the home and were placed at the home of a neighbour for safety, as police were called to the scene and friends of the victim attempted to search for his attacker.

“Ells” rose to national attention four years ago, when he assisted in the apprehension of one man involved in a daylight shootout.

On Wednesday, November 21, 2007, Ells, 53 years old at the time, shot and wounded Jeremy Riley, who was involved in a shoot-out with other men.

Ells, who was a dental technician, was at work at his lower Kingstown office at the time, when he heard gunshots and saw a man brandishing a firearm.

Armed with his licensed gun, he followed the man, and as he grabbed onto the individual, the man pulled a gun from his waist and attempted to shoot Ells.

Unfortunately for Riley, his trigger jammed, giving Ells the opportunity to shoot him on his finger.

Riley was sentenced to three years in prison for that event and other gun related crimes in 2009.

His trial and sentencing had been delayed almost two years, as while out on bail after being charged, he absconded. He was later arrested in Martinique for drugs and served a sentence of about 18 months there.

At the time of the 2007 incident, Ells informed SEARCHLIGHT that he would assist the police in any way he could.

“If people were afraid to do like what I did, what kind of society would we have? I am not afraid of anyone,” Ells was quoted as saying.

That sense of duty was echoed by the residents who assembled outside his home, as they spoke with deep respect for Ells.

“He was the guardian of the neighbourhood…. This hits close to home,” one resident said.

“If you were a stranger coming in here, he would ask you where you going and if he didn’t like the answer, you had to leave,” said another.

“If it was somebody else (who was killed), he would have gone searching for who ever did it. Pembroke can never be the same. I don’t know how we going to function.”

Ells’ heroics and bravado have fueled speculation that he may have shot and injured his attacker.

Although spent shells were recovered by police at the scene, Ells’ firearm was not recovered. However, a knife, believed to be the murder weapon, was recovered by police.

Neighbours of the slain man say that he will surely be missed, with some of them even weeping openly for their fallen friend.

George McDowall, who described himself as the caretaker of Ells’ property, also lamented the loss of his friend and boss.

“Par me dey ya, me heart ah cry, because he treat me real good. He do plenty for me.

“If he don’t see you today, tomorrow he going come look fo you to make sure you alright.

“I just thank God the children safe. Me really feel it.”

Police are investigating the matter.

Ells, originally from Calliaqua, is survived by his mother, his wife, siblings and several other relatives. In 2007, Ells told SEARCHLIGHT he was the father of 14 children.

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