DENVER (CBS4)– State lawmakers are in a state of shock after the announcement that the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections had been shot and killed.
There was already a noticeable security presence at the state Capitol on Wednesday because Gov. John Hickenlooper was signing gun control legislation into law.
The governor’s office would not comment on whether additional security was added after Clements’ murder. The office also would not comment on whether members of the governor’s cabinet or legislators received additional security.
Police said the shooting took place after Clements opened the front door of his house at 17420 Colonial Park Drive in Monument at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. A family member inside the home afterwards called 911 and apparently didn’t see the shooter. Clements did not survive.
Clements was an influential and well-liked figure at the state Capitol. He was an opponent of the death penalty and was also an adviser to state representatives and senators on future crime legislation.
Tension at the state Capitol has been high in recent weeks with the gun control bill debates.
Police have been involved with threats made to Rep. Rhonda Fields, a Democrat representing Aurora, over her measures on gun control.
Fields said many elected officials don’t feel safe,” “Because of what just happened to one of my colleagues. It has shaken me and it has shaken a lot of people because he did not deserve it. Murder, no one has a right to murder, to take their life away. I’m really sad today.”
State Senator Angela Giron, a Democrat representing Monument, was a close, personal friend of Clements. She said she was still processing the events.
“It’s hard. When I first heard the news I just. It was about 7:30 this morning the capitol was kind of quiet but there were still people moving around and I thought, ‘Why isn’t everyone just stopping?’ How you feel when you think everyone should be paying attention to what just happened. So I’m just trying to adjust,” said Giron.
Both the Republican and Democrat parties issued a statement that Clements made Colorado safer.
The ACLU issued this statement, “The ACLU of Colorado is profoundly saddened to learn of the death of Tom Clements, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. We send our deepest sympathies to Mr. Clements’ family.
“During his short, two-year tenure, Mr. Clements took significant strides to protect the civil rights and human dignity of prisoners. Not only did he close Colorado State Penitentiary II – a supermax facility designed to deny prisoners human contact – but he dramatically reduced the population of prisoners held in solitary conditions. In the last several months, he worked cooperatively with the ACLU of Colorado to reduce the significant numbers of seriously mentally ill prisoners held in long-term solitary confinement.
“Mr. Clements was an intelligent, kind and humane leader who was open and receptive to the ACLU’s work. He will be deeply missed.”