July 6, 2012: The District Attorney’s Office today charged 39 year old Chauncey Ellison, Sr. with Voluntary Manslaughter, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Possession of an Instrument of Crime and Conspiracy charges for the 2008 shooting death of Lawrence Allen. 44 year old Robin Fortune, Ellison’s girlfriend at the time of the shooting, has also been charged with Conspiracy and Recklessly Endangering another Person. Both Ellison and Fortune were off-duty Philadelphia Police Officers when the shooting occurred; they were both subsequently fired from the department in 2010.
On the night of November 17, 2008, 19 year old Lawrence Allen was shot in the back outside of his home on the 1900 block of Renovo Street by off-duty Philadelphia police Sergeant, Chauncey Ellison, Sr. The bullet severed Lawrence Allen’s spinal cord rendering him a paraplegic. He spent the rest of his life in hospitals and care facilities treating various complications stemming from his condition until his death at the age of 20 on February 15, 2009. The shooting happened during an argument over a stolen pizza.
“The arrests of Ellison and Fortune should send a message to all criminals in Philadelphia,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “We will prosecute you for your crimes, no matter who you are, no matter what job title you may have; if you break the law in Philadelphia my office will come after you. This young man was shot over a pizza by someone who was supposed to protect and serve our community. Words cannot adequately describe how tragic that is.”
On the night of the shooting, Ellison’s 14 year old son Chauncey Ellison, Jr. and Fortune’s 14 year old son said that a 16 year old neighborhood boy had stolen their pizza. The two young men reported that the robber punched Ellison, Jr. and stole the pizza, but never showed a weapon. Ellison, Sr. along with Fortune, her 16 year old daughter Brittany Fortune and Chauncey Ellison, Jr., set off in pursuit of the robber. The senior Ellison was armed with his police issued Glock 17 semi-automatic handgun. The group of four drove around the neighborhood in Ellison’s SUV searching for the robber. Ellison, who was not on-duty as a police officer that evening, chose not to call 911 to report the robbery. It was not until after Ellison shot Lawrence Allen that Ellison finally called the police.
The group did eventually encounter the 16 year old robber near Cheltenham Avenue, and gave chase. They caught up with the teen on the 1900 block of Renovo, outside of Lawrence Allen’s house. Ellison stopped his SUV, blocked the road and jumped out of the car with his gun drawn. Lawrence Allen, who was outside with his two sisters, his pregnant girlfriend, and the accused robber, put himself between Ellison’s gun and the teen to try and calm the situation. All of the witnesses to the confrontation, including Robin and Brittany Fortune, testified that Allen offered to pay for the stolen pizza despite the fact that he and his family were not involved in the robbery.
Despite that admission, Robin Fortune continued to ignite the already tense situation by screaming at the senior Ellison, calling him names and asking if he was “going to let them do this to your son.” At one point she even told Ellison to “pop one of these M##@!! F##@@!!ers.” Ellison, who was considerably taller and larger than Allen, confronted him in a small area next to a car and shot Allen one time in the back left shoulder area.