DALLAS (CBS4)– A white supremacist parolee is at the center of an investigation in the murder of Tom Clements and a pizza delivery man.
Sources tell CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger that Evan Ebel was involved in a high speed chase and shootout in Texas that ended in a crash Thursday. Ebel, 28, was kept alive on life support for a few hours but was taken off and has died.
Ebel is a parolee in the Denver metro area. He has been identified as a member of a white supremacist gang. The gang is called “211s” aka Brotherhood of Aryan Alliance. It was founded in 1995 by habitual criminal Benjamin Davis at Colorado’s Denver County Jail.
Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was killed after he answered the door at his home in Monument at approximately 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Thursday’s high speed chase led authorities through two North Texas counties and ended with both a sheriff’s deputy and a suspect being shot.
Everything began just before lunchtime when Deputy James Boyd, with the Montague County Sheriff’s Office, tried to pull over a known drug suspect, believed to be Ebel.
A source told the CBS affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth that as Deputy Boyd approached the suspect vehicle the person inside, Ebel, started shooting. Ebel’s identity has not been publicly confirmed by law enforcement.
Two bullets hit Boyd in the chest, but the deputy was wearing a bulletproof vest. Another shot is believed to have hit the Boyd on the ear. He was taken by air ambulance to Harris Methodist Medical Center in Fort Worth and is listed in serious condition.
Ebel fled from the scene as law enforcement officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), Wise County Sheriff’s Office and Decatur Police Department pursued. The male suspect reportedly continued shooting as he led authorities on the chase.
Eventually Ebel crashed the older model Cadillac he was driving in Decatur, near Highway 380 and US 287 when it was struck broadside by a semi truck carrying gravel. That car had Colorado license plates.
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“After the suspect was struck by the 18-wheeler he exited the vehicle with a firearm and engaged our deputies in a firefight. None of the deputies were hit by any suspect shots. The suspect was hit as the deputies returned fire,” said Wise County Sheriff David Walker.
“He didn’t plan on being taken alive,” said Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins. It didn’t look like he wanted to be caught or taken alive.”
Officers returned fire and hit Ebel in the head. He was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced legally dead. He was being kept on machines for potential organ donation but was taken off and pronounced dead Thursday evening.
Sources told CBS4 Investigator Rick Sallinger that Ebel was the driver of the Cadillac.
The vehicle in the chase in Texas is believe to match the description of a suspicious car seen near Clements’ home 15 minutes before the shooting.
“It’s described as being a two-door car, very boxy either black or dark-colored. It’s also being described as being very shiny,” said El Paso County Sheriff spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer. “It was observed to be occupied by one person. We have no description on that one person.”
“I believe the description of the car in Colorado from what we understood was a black, box-style car, I believe it was in the news that is was a Lincoln. This is a box-style black car with Colorado plates and that’s kind of how it all got started,” said Walker.
The vehicle was found on Google Street View parked in the driveway of a home in the 19000 block of E. 60th Place in Aurora. The woman who lived at the home told CBS4 she had recently sold the vehicle but it was not clear who she had sold it to.
The home in Aurora was the last known residence to which the Cadillac was registered.
Texas investigators have confirmed items found in the suspect vehicle could be tied to another Colorado murder. Colorado law enforcement has sent officers to Texas to investigate a possible connection.
“There are other murders in Colorado that investigators have called about down here and talked about,” said Walker. “Like any of us here, if you have an open murder you look at it and see if there’s any connection.”
Sources close to the investigation tell CBS4 that a pizza box and Domino’s delivery shirt were found in the back seat of the car, leading authorities to investigate the possibility that the same person may have been responsible for the recent murders of a pizza delivery man in the Denver area and Clements.
Nathan Leon, 27, was shot several times on Sunday by a person or unknown group of people. He had gone missing while he was on duty delivering pizzas for Domino’s Pizza and six hours later his body was found in Golden, 20 miles away from his car. Police so far have no leads in the case.
Leon’s family said he delivered pizzas as a way to earn extra money for his wife and his three girls.
“We have not got in the vehicle yet to get any evidence out but we suspect that it will be related. But until we get in the car we can’t be positive,” said Walker.
On first examination spent shells found at the scene of the shootout in Texas appeared to match those found at the home of Clements.
The Cadillac and the same driver were seen at an apartment complex in Colorado Springs on Tuesday before Clements was shot to death.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office confirmed there were other sightings as well, “We had about three to four additional residents of that area that had seen it in the area.”
One theory being investigated by authorities is that Ebel may have murdered Leon for his uniform then used that as a disguise to get Clements to open his door.
Ebel has an extensive criminal history including illegal possession of a firearm, aggravated robbery, felony menacing and assault. Ebel is described as a white male, 6-foot tall, 180 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.
CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass reached Ebel’s father, Jack, by phone Thursday evening. He sounded pretty broken up.
“I can’t talk right now,” Jack Ebel said, “I know at some point I have to but not now.”
The 211 has an extensive criminal history in Colorado. Nathan Thill and Jeremiah Barnum, 211 members, murdered African immigrant Oumar Dia, 38, at a downtown Denver bus stop in Nov. 1997. The offenders also shot Jennie VanVelkinburgh who tried to help Dia. She was left paralyzed.
Barnum, 38, was shot and killed by Englewood Police officers on Feb. 23, 2012 after Barnum attacked an officer and reached for his gun.
Clements leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
Clements Family Statement
The family of Tom Clements released this statement Wednesday afternoon:
“We are thankful for the overwhelming support and concern that we have received in the wake of Tom’s death. Our family has lost a devoted husband and a beloved father. There are no words at this time to describe our grief and loss. We thank our friends and those praying for us here and across the nation. Your well-wishes and prayers bring us strength. We appreciate your continued respect for our privacy during this terrible loss.”
Clements public funeral is scheduled for Monday at 10:30 a.m. at New Life Church in Colorado Springs. The public funeral follows the private funeral on Sunday.