Colo. Department of Corrections chief shot, killed

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

MONUMENT, Colo. (AP) -- Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements was shot and killed when he answered the front door of his home, and police are searching for the gunman.

Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Kramer said Clements was shot at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at his home in Monument, north of Colorado Springs. He said a family member called 911 to report the shooting and officers found 58-year-old Clements dead in his home. Search dogs were called in to comb a wooded area around Clements' home, and authorities went house to house trying to find out what neighbors heard.

Colorado authorities are looking for a dark-colored "boxy" car seen near the house.

Authorities say investigators have not ruled anything out, but it could have been related to his job.

The vehicle's engine was running and a witness reported seeing one person driving away in the car.

Gov. John Hickenlooper appointed Clements to the post in 2011 after he served for more than three decades in the Missouri Department of Corrections. He replaced Ari Zavaras, a former Denver police chief.

The department operates 20 adult prisons and a juvenile detainment system.

In a statement released early Wednesday, Hickenlooper said he was in disbelief over the killing.

The governor has ordered flags lowered to half-staff at public buildings statewide in memory of Clements.

HIckenlooper said Wednesday flags will be lowered from sunrise to sunset until the day after Clements' funeral. Arrangements are pending.

Clements is survived by his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Rachel and Sara. His family is requesting privacy at this time.

The Colorado chief is the second person to be killed while he was in charge of a state penitentiary system.

Michael Francke, head of the Oregon Department of Corrections, was fatally stabbed outside his office in Salem, Ore., in January 1989.

Prosecutors speculated Francke was killed in an attempted car burglary. He was 42.

Frank Gable, a convicted drug dealer, was found guilty in 1991 of aggravated murder in Francke's slaying and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Gable has maintained his innocence, and his supporters say he was wrongly convicted.

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