Man faces 15 years for shooting Applebee’s manager
A man who shot and robbed an Applebee’s manager in Suburban Plaza last year will serve at least 15 years in prison.
Thomas Ellerbe, 41, of Wilmington, pleaded guilty last week to second-degree assault, second-degree conspiracy, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. He also faces an additional 10 years in prison for violating his parole in Maryland.
The charges relate to an incident that happened just after 2 a.m. July 29, 2017.
As the Applebee’s manager walked to his car after closing the restaurant, Ellerbe and his accomplice,
James Brooks, emerged from the bushes and confronted the 38-year-old man.
Armed with a handgun, Ellerbe and Brooks attempted to force the manager back into the restaurant. When the manager refused, Ellerbe shot him in the leg at point-blank range and stole a power drill he had with him.
As the manager fell to the ground, he pulled Brooks down with him and used him as a human shield in case Ellerbe fired additional shots.
Ellerbe and Brooks eventually fled in a vehicle. The manager was treated at Christiana Hospital and released.
Newark Police detectives were able to use public and private sur veillance footage to obtain the license plate of the getaway vehicle, which traced back to Ellerbe. A SWAT team raided Ellerbe’s home two days after the robbery and arrested him without incident.
Ellerbe was prohibited from owning firearms due to previous robbery and burglary convictions, prosecutors said.
Brooks was arrested in December 2017. He was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty earlier this year.