Texas shootout gun killed Colorado prison chief: sheriff

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 25, 2013 3:55 PM
Texas shootout gun killed Colorado prison chief: sheriff

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - The gun used by a white supremacist ex-convict who was killed in a shootout with police near Decatur, Texas, last week was the same weapon used to kill Colorado's prison chief two days earlier, law enforcement officials said on Monday.

Evan Spencer Ebel, a 28-year-old parolee from Denver, was killed in a gun battle with Texas police last Thursday after a high-speed chase through Decatur.

Ballistics tests established that his gun was used to kill Tom Clements, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, the El Paso County, Colorado, Sheriff's Office said on Monday. Clements, 58, was shot dead on Tuesday when he answered the door at his home south of Denver.

Ebel, who according to law enforcement sources was a member of a white supremacist prison gang known as the 211 Crew, has been named as a suspect in the killing.

"The analysis done by ballistics experts has concluded the gun used by Evan Ebel in Texas was the same weapon used in the shooting death of Tom Clements," the sheriff's department said in a written statement.

"The confirmation goes well beyond acknowledging the same caliber and brand of ammunition being used, but rather is based on unique, and often microscopic markings left on the casings at both scenes," the sheriff's department said.

The department said investigators were seeking to determine whether Ebel acted alone in the shooting of Clements or if others were involved.

Ebel has also been identified by police as a suspect in the killing of pizza delivery man Nathan Leon in Denver last Sunday, two days before Clements was slain.

A Domino's pizza deliverer's shirt or jacket and pizza carrier were found in the trunk of Ebel's Cadillac following the gun battle with police, according to a search warrant filed in the case and posted online by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper.

A Denver police spokesman said detectives were meeting on the case on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, authorities have been looking for ties between the death of Clements and the January killing of Mark Hasse, a prosecutor in the Kaufman County District Attorney's Office. Kaufman County is east of Dallas.

Ebel was paroled in the Denver area in January.

Hundreds of mourners packed into a church in Colorado Springs on Monday to pay tribute to Clements, among them his widow, Lisa, and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

Lisa Clements recalled how she and her husband were watching television at their home last Tuesday when their doorbell rang and her "life changed forever."

Hickenlooper, who was visibly moved as he spoke, called Clements, "without question, one of the most remarkable people I've ever known in my life."

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Scott Malone, Kevin Gray and Bernard Orr)