Clarendon homeowner describes ‘scary’ situation with shootout

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

CLARENDON – A vehicle driven by James Ellis hit a telephone pole on Route 31A at about 3 a.m. this morning and the vehicle came to a rest in front yard of Christopher and Denise Wing. Mr. Wing is pictured in back being interviewed by news reporters at about 12:30 p.m. today.

After hitting the telephone pole, Ellis then fled to a wooded area and soon was involved in a shootout with responding police officers. Ellis twice shot James DeFilipps, an Orleans County deputy, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest. That protected him from the shots to his abdomen. DeFilipps fatally shot Ellis, 44, of Wyoming County.

National Grid put up this new telephone pole after James Ellis drove into a pole early this morning at this location at a bend on Route 31A.

Ellis was fleeing police after showing up at his ex-girlfriend’s house in Shelby with a gun, Orleans County Sheriff Scott Hess said.

Mr. Wing said he and his wife were awakened at about 3 a.m. by the car crash. When they heard the initial gun shot, they thought someone had hit a deer and was shooting the animal to put it out of its misery. But after multiple shots were fired, Mr. Wing said he knew something more was going on.

“It’s a little scary,” Mr. Wing told reporters outside his home, which is about a ½ mile west of the Bennetts Corners Road intersection. “You live out in the country and you don’t expect that to happen. This is usually a pretty quiet road.”

He estimated the shots were fired 5 to 10 minutes after the initial crash.

Christopher Wing points to his front yard on Route 31A, where a deputy was in a shootout with a man from Wyoming County early this morning.

State Police and other investigators had the section of 31A blocked off near Wing’s home until about 10:30 a.m. today while they collected evidence.

Wing said he is most thankful that Deputy DeFilipps only suffered minor injuries and returned home to his family.

Wing’s grown son, Mark Wing, grew up on the peaceful stretch of 31A. He said cars would occasionally veer off the winding road.

He said he is grateful his parents were unharmed in the incident, and that Deputy DeFilipps and other law enforcement agencies were quickly on scene.

“It’s a little scary because it’s so close to home,” Mark Wing said. “Thankfully the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department was quick to respond.”