Colorado Prison Director Shot Dead at Home

Tom Clements, the Executive Director of Colorado's Department of Corrections, was at home last night when someone rang the doorbell around 8:30 p.m. He opened the door and was shot dead.

There are no suspects and it does not appear robbery was a motive. Clements' home is in Monument, Colorado, which is near Colorado Springs.

Officials with the El Paso County sheriff’s office said they were looking for a “boxy” two-door car that had been spotted Tuesday night in the neighborhood, its engine running but with nobody inside. There were few other insights about who had shot Mr. Clements, or why.

...They said Mr. Clements’s post, overseeing more than 20,000 inmates in Colorado’s prisons and parole system, might have made him a target.


Clements, who leaves a wife and two daughters, was appointed prison chief by Gov. Hickenlooper in January, 2011. Prior to that he had spent 31 years working in Missouri's prison system.

A family member (presumably his wife) called 911. A manhunt is underway. Here's a picture of his home.

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  • Display: Sort:
    By all accounts a good guy... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 02:24:48 PM EST
    who made a difference and will be missed.  Rep. Morgan Carroll's statement earlier today:

    Director Tom Clements helped bring seriously overdue reforms in CO prisons on solitary confinement and was an advocate for getting inmates the rehab and classes shown to make us all safer.  His wife, Dr. Lisa Clements is a behavioral health expert who has helped give  CO some of its best improvements this year for what we will be doing for improving mental health in CO.  Both are extremely smart people who see and treat people as human beings.  Kind people committed to doing good things for CO and already making a difference here.  This is so sad beyond words.  My deepest sympathies for his family and CO lost an amazing public servant.

    Blessings to his family.

    From a distance this looks (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:02:02 PM EST
    like a professional murder. These aren't easy to solve, especially given the circumstances. My condolences and sympathy go out to his family.

    Guns, guns, guns... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by fishcamp on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:33:50 PM EST
    I have several guns that I've used since learning to hunt in the wilds of Oregon and later in Colorado.  Now I'm not sure I like my guns anymore.  We never thought about self protection and now, down here in Florida, that's what it's all about.  Sad.

    The gun didn't ring the doorbell (none / 0) (#10)
    by scribe on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 03:05:56 AM EST
    It didn't walk up to the front door.  And it surely didn't aim itself or pull its own trigger.

    All those things - and everything  else that happened - were the product of human intention and human action.

    Blaming the gun is no different than the kid who falls off his bicycle and blames the stupid bicycle for it.  And it's about as mature.

    IF you don't want your guns, fine.  Don't try to spread it beyond your own.


    Thank you for the advice... (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by fishcamp on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 06:37:07 AM EST
    Of course it didn't (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Yman on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:56:21 AM EST
    No one's claiming it did.

    Guns just make it a whole lot easier.


    Scribe, are you trying to say that (none / 0) (#12)
    by Jack E Lope on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:41:42 AM EST
    ...someone might be able to murder a Director of Corrections without a gun?  For instance, with a knife?

    Someone was killed with a knife?!? (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by Yman on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 09:03:43 AM EST

    Don't forget pencils - he could have just used a pencil ...

    ... or a frying pan ...

    So weird that guns are (by far) the murder weapon of choice, when knives are so much more common, and frying pans and pencils are so much cheaper ...


    Looks like they caught a suspect... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 10:52:27 PM EST
    today after a car chase and shoot-out in Texas.  

    The suspect was identified as Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, a parolee in the Denver metro area, according to federal and state officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. Ebel was identified as a member of a white supremacist prison gang, the 211s.

    Authorities are also investigating Ebel in the murder of a pizza delivery man the day before in Golden and whether the 211's ordered a hit on Director Clements.

    The suspect, Evan Ebel (none / 0) (#17)
    by jbindc on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:25:56 AM EST
    Is on life support after that 100 mph car chase (and subsequent running into a semi) and shootout with police.  Apparently Colorado authorities are on their way down to Texas right now, because Ebel is not expected to make it, and is being prepped for organ donation.

    What a reprehensible and cowardly act. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 04:44:58 PM EST
    My condolences to Mr. Clements' family and friends for their loss of a loved one, and to the people of Colorado for their loss of a dedicated public official and good man.

    I would be interested to know (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:40:17 PM EST
    how many employees he oversaw, as much as to know how many inmates, if I were writing as a journalist and impliedly suggesting who might be a suspect.

    Ii would be interested in Jeralyn's (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:55:43 PM EST
    rationale for posting the aerial photo of decedent''s residence.  Yes, it is probably already available in the public domain, but still.  

    The exact same picture (none / 0) (#8)
    by Zorba on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 08:29:55 PM EST
    is shown in the CBS Denver News article Jeralyn linked to.

    Well, Oculus she must have (none / 0) (#5)
    by fishcamp on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:51:36 PM EST
    wanted to show he was a normal person living in a normal house where an abnormal person shot him dead.  Tragic.

    The widow and perhaps his minor children (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 07:57:04 PM EST
    are probably still there and vulnerable.

    I was looking for information (none / 0) (#15)
    by sj on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 09:20:37 AM EST
    about his approach and his record in Missouri.  It's hard to come by right now.  Most search results are reports of his murder.  But what I have been able to find confirms MileHi's comment above.  "By all accounts a good guy" who considered rehabilition a priority and was personally opposed to the death penalty.  Maybe he could have enlightened Hickenlooper as well.  This is tragic on so many levels.  

    Peace to his family.