Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said Robert Ellis started shooting at police shortly after they responded to reports of a domestic disturbance at his parents' Washington Township home around 1:30 a.m. Molinelli said Ellis fired several shots while moving in and out of the residence and was outside when he was fatally struck.
Molinelli said three officers were involved in the incident but none were injured, though one bullet hit a police cruiser. He said police from Washington, Westwood and Hillsdale were at the scene and that the gun battle lasted for about 15 to 30 minutes.
Ellis - who would have turned 49 this coming Friday - was shot several times and pronounced dead at the scene. His last known address was in Ridgewood, and it was not immediately clear whether he was staying in his parents' home or had been visiting when the incident occurred It was not known what type of gun Ellis had or why he shot at the officers, and further details regarding the initial domestic disturbance report were not disclosed. No one else at the residence was injured during the incident or the subsequent gun battle.
The incident will be investigated by Molinelli's office and the state Attorney General's office, which is standard protocol for police-involved shootings. An autopsy was planned on Ellis, but it was not immediately known when it would take place.