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Evan Ebel now called suspect in death of Colorado prison director

March 23, 2013|By Paloma Esquivel
  • Paroled inmate Evan Spencer Ebel, who was killed in a gunfight with Texas authorities, is now officially a suspect in the killing of Tom Clements, the chief of the Colorado prison system.
Paroled inmate Evan Spencer Ebel, who was killed in a gunfight with Texas… (Colorado Department of…)

A Colorado parolee who was killed in a gunfight with authorities in Texas this week is officially considered a suspect in the death of Colorado’s prisons chief, a spokesman for the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said Saturday.

Tom Clements, who had served as head of Colorado's prison system for two years, was shot to death Tuesday when he answered the door of his home near Colorado Springs. The suspect, Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, was shot two days later by law enforcement following a high-speed chase that ended about 60 miles west of Dallas.

A warrant application filed by investigators showed that the brand and caliber of shell casings from the gunfight with Ebel matched those found at Clements' home. The black Cadillac he was driving also matched the description of a car seen outside the prisons chief's home.

Until Saturday, investigators had stopped short of calling Ebel a suspect in the case. The announcement was first reported by the Associated Press. El Paso County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeff Kramer confirmed it to the Los Angeles Times.

In an email statement, Kramer said “information gained in Texas is a strong lead.” He added that ballistic tests need to be completed to confirm whether the gun used in Texas is the same one used to kill Clements.

Evel is also being viewed as possible suspect in the killing on Sunday of Nathan Leon, a Denver pizza delivery man.

Kramer declined to confirm reports that Ebel was a member of 211 Crew, a Colorado-based white supremacist prison gang, but did say investigators are looking into his background.

In a twist, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday that he knew Ebel's father and had known of his son's troubles. 

"I met Jack Ebel some 30 years ago when working for an oil company soon after moving to Colorado. Jack is one of the most kind and generous people I know. His son had a bad streak that I know he tried desperately to correct," Hickenlooper said in the statement.

The governor added that "the events of the past few days have been devastating for all involved. I am in shock and disbelief about how everything seems connected in this case. It makes no sense."

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paloma.esquivel@latimes.com

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