Spartanburg, SC — Deputy Dylan Ellis, of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s office, was recently arrested for burning down the home of his ex-girlfriend while four people were inside, including two children. Luckily, all of the occupants were able to escape and there were no injuries, but if they did not notice the fire immediately they could have risked death or serious injuries.
The fire was set at 4 am, and the family was asleep at the time, but awakened by smoke detectors.
Ellis was charged with four counts of attempted murder and arson and confessed to the crimes when he was questioned.
“Please don’t think I’m saying this is OK when I say this. I would almost understand if he damaged a car — if he spoke bad of her on Facebook — something of that nature that would make more sense. Burning a home down at 4′oclock in the morning with four people inside? That’s way out there,” Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright said at a press conference.
Ellis maliciously set a fire and risked killing children to attack an ex-girlfriend, and while it isn’t clear if he knew the children were in the house, he clearly had no concern for human life.
“The house was completely destroyed,” Wright said.
As the AP reports:
Wright’s investigators quickly figured out the Aug. 23 fire was intentionally set. When the evidence began pointing to Ellis, the sheriff turned the investigation over to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Ellis had been a deputy for just over a year. After learning he was a suspect, Wright said he looked over Ellis’ psychological testing and other paperwork and saw no sign this might happen.
“A lot of times we catch things where we aren’t going to give a person a gun and a badge,” Wright said. “There was nothing that indicated this individual had the potential to do this.”
Unfortunately, domestic violence is a serious problem among police officers, and in most cases, they never see any consequences. According to recent studies, law enforcement officers beat their wives or girlfriends at nearly double the rate of the rest of the population.
Several studies, according to Diane Wetendorf, author of Police Domestic Violence: Handbook for Victims, indicate that women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40 percent of police officer families. For American women overall, the figure is 25 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to The Advocates for Human Rights Organization, studies indicate that police families are 2-4 times more likely than the general population to experience domestic violence, making the potential for disparities in protective success particularly troubling.