Woman shot, killed after confrontation with authorities

Published: Apr. 22, 2008 at 3:07 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2008 at 11:48 PM EDT
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Tyrell Coleman
Tyrell Coleman
Billy Sowell
Billy Sowell

CASSATT, SC (WIS) - The Kershaw County Sheriff's Office says a woman was shot Monday night when authorities attempted to serve some bench warrants.

Captain David Thomley with the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office says 52-year-old Lori Jean Ellis was fatally shot shortly after 11pm.

According to Capt. Thomley, two Kershaw County deputies and a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources officer went to her home on Dogwood Lane in Cassatt to execute four bench warrants for failing to appear in court on various charges.

Agents identified Ellis in the home and asked her numerous times to surrender.

When officers went to the back door of the house, they say she was there holding a rifle.

Authorities say she fired at least one shot at them, and the DNR officer and one of the Kershaw County deputies returned fire and backed out of the house.

A robot was sent into the home where Ellis was found unresponsive. She was pronounced on the scene from a single gunshot wound.

"I don't know how I'm going to deal with this, because I don't have a best friend anymore," says Lori's friend.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, has known Lori Ellis for 10 years.
Ellis was like a mother to her, and she doesn't want to show her face because the pain is too fresh.

"She's not the type of person what would harm a soul," she says.

The two Kershaw County deputies are on administrative leave with pay. Tyrell Coleman has been with the department six years and William 'Billy' Sowell has been with the department three years.

The SC DNR officer, Greg Lowery, has been with the agency about 14 months.

"If you knew her, she was the sweetest person in the world. You would neve think this would be happening to Ms. Lori," says the friend.

The Kershaw County Sheriff's Office spoke about what happened.

"I'm not aware of any policy that we violated, or any problems with what we've done. Protocol has been followed," said Capt. Thomley.

At this time, we have no word on exactly how many shots were fired, and it's unclear which deputy fired the shots.

Capt. Thomley says Ellis has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1972 when she was arrested for burglary in New York.

Authorities are investigating.

Posted by Bryce Mursch