Authorities looking at connection between Texas shooter, Colo. murders
DENVER — Sources tell FOX31 Denver a car involved in a high-speed chase and shootout in Texas may be linked to both the shooting death of Colorado DOC director Tom Clements and the slaying of a Domino’s pizza delivery driver.
“We don’t know if it is or it is not connected” to the Clements slaying, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said during an afternoon news conference.
Sources, however, have told FOX31 Denver investigators are looking at a Clements connection, as well as one to the slaying of Nathan Leon, a Domino’s pizza delivery driver who was found dead in Golden. The source could only talk about the case anonymously because they are not allowed to speak publicly.
FOX31 Denver has separately confirmed that a Domino’s pizza box and uniform were found in the Cadillac involved in the Texas chase. Investigators said whoever killed Clements may have used a delivery driver disguise to convince him to open the door.
The driver in the Texas chase is believed to be Evan Ebel, 28, a parolee in the Denver area. Ebel has an extensive criminal history including convictions for assault, robbery and weapons violations. He is thought to be a member of a white supremacist prison gang.
Walker said Colorado authorities are headed to Texas to look at connections to the Clements case “and other homicide cases.”
The Texas chase and shooting began in Bowie, Tex., when Montague County Sheriff’s Deputy James Boyd tried to pull over a black Cadillac at 11 a.m. for a minor traffic violation. The driver fired on Boyd, hitting him twice in the chest. One bullet grazed his head, reported WFAA-TV. Boyd was wearing a bullet-proof vest and is expected to survive.
The Cadillac led police and deputies on a 35 mile chase down U.S. 287 South, sometimes reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour. At times he pointed his gun out the window and fired at law enforcement officers, reported the Wise County Messenger.
“He shot at me at least four times,” said Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins.
As the Cadillac entered the town of Decatur, Tex., northwest of Dallas, the chase ended when it collided with an 18-wheeler at the intersection of U.S. 380 and Highway 287.
“At that time he leaped out of his vehicle and opened fire on deputies,” Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins told the newspaper. “They returned fire and the suspect hit the ground.”
The man was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth, Tex. Walker said he is “legally deceased,” though machines are being used so his organs can be taken for donations.
The suspect did not have an ID on him. “We have no idea who he is,” Walker said. The Messenger reported he is a white man in his 30s.
The suspect’s vehicle has two license plates, including one from Colorado. It also appears to match the “boxy-style” 1990s model dark-colored vehicle El Paso county deputies have been looking for that was spotted near Clements’ home the night he was killed.
Colorado authorities are now traveling to Texas to work with their counterparts.
The FBI has not commented yet.
In a statement, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said they are working with “the FBI and local authorities in Texas to determine if an earlier incident involving a high-speed chase is connected to the death investigation of Tom Clements.”
Clements, 58, was killed Tuesday night by a stranger who knocked on his door at his Monument home and shot Clements in the chest.
No suspects have been named and no motive has been discovered.
Clements had been chief of Colorado’s prison system for a little more than two years. He took the job in January 2011 after working for 31 years as part of Missouri’s Department of Corrections.
A memorial service for Clements has been scheduled for Monday in Colorado Springs. It will be at 10 a.m. at the New Life Church at 11025 Voyager Parkway.
This story will be updated as more information arrives.