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Gun in Texas shootout was used to kill Colorado prisons chief

March 25, 2013|By Matt Pearce
  • Police officers leave a church in Colorado Springs, Colo., after celebrating the life of Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements.
Police officers leave a church in Colorado Springs, Colo., after celebrating… (Michael Ciaglo / The Gazette )

The gun used in a dramatic Texas highway shootout was the same weapon used to kill the head of Colorado's prisons, officials said Monday.

"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 El Paso, Colo., County sheriff's office said in a statement Monday. "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."

Mystery has swirled around the death of Clements, Colorado's prisons director, since he was shot dead after answering his door last Tuesday.

Early evidence pointed at Ebel's involvement after he was killed in a shootout days later with Texas state police. The 28-year-old had recently been released from prison, where he had reportedly spent years in solitary confinement.

Speculation has surrounded Ebel's possible membership in a white supremacist prison gang, the 211 Crew, which had been broken up by prison officials before Clements' slaying.

Law enforcement officials still have not confirmed Ebel's membership in the Colorado-based gang, which has a history of ordering the slayings of other prisoners.

Monday's statement by El Paso County officials, in explaining why it wasn't sharing all of its evidence with the public, left open the possibility that Ebel didn't act alone. "Please be mindful that if other people are implicated in this crime, it is imperative we do all we can to aid in the successful prosecution of those responsible, and that starts with the integrity of the investigation," the statement said.

A public memorial was held for Clements on Monday, which followed a private funeral held Sunday. He is survived by his wife, Lisa Clements, a psychologist who oversees Colorado's state mental health institutes, and two daughters.


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