DENVER (AP) – Both of the suspected white supremacist prison gang members whose names surfaced during an investigation into the killing of Colorado’s prisons chief are behind bars as investigators try to determine whether a man recently paroled from solitary confinement acted alone in the slaying.
Colorado Springs authorities arrested Thomas Guolee, 31, around 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Colorado Springs, according to El Paso County sheriff’s officials. They haven’t released the circumstances or details of his arrest. He was being held without bond for a parole violation, sheriff’s officials said.
The arrest came nearly a week after another alleged member of the 211 Crew, James Lohr, in Colorado Springs after a short chase. Lohr, 47, is now being held on charges including vehicular eluding.
Investigators say the two aren’t suspects in the shooting death of Colorado Department of Corrections head Tom Clements, but their names came up during the investigation. Authorities last week told law enforcement officers to look out for both men, who had outstanding warrants unrelated to Clements’ death.
Evan Ebel is the only suspect that has been named in the killing of Clements, who was shot when he answered his front door March 19, and of Nathan Leon, a father of three who was shot March 17 while working as a pizza deliveryman. Ebel was later killed in a shootout with North Texas authorities. A pizza uniform and pizza carrier were found in Ebel’s car, leading investigators to look into whether Leon may have been killed for his uniform to help persuade Clements to open his door.
The gun Ebel used in Texas is the same one used to kill Clements. But Lt. Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that investigators still haven’t determined whether he was the one who killed Clements and whether anyone else may have been involved. The investigation has included looking at Ebel’s possible contacts with members of the 211 Crew, a white supremacist prison gang with members both inside and outside prison.
The sheriff’s office says both Lohr and Guolee are members. Prison records say Ebel was a member but it’s not clear whether he continued to be after leaving prison.
Authorities haven’t specified how Guolee and Lohr came up in the investigation but they believe Lohr was in contact with Ebel days before the killings.
Ebel was released from prison after serving eight years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement, which his parents said damaged his already troubled mind. The Colorado Independent, an online news outlet, reported Thursday that Ebel sent a suicide note to another inmate in solitary confinement, Troy Anderson, last month saying that he was having trouble adjusting to life outside of prison and wanted revenge for his treatment behind bars.
Calls and emails to lawyers for Anderson, who sued the state to win the right to outdoor recreation, weren’t immediately returned. Kramer wasn’t aware of the letter but said Ebel’s time in prison is one of many things investigators are examining.
“As we educate ourselves about Mr. Ebel, we will be looking at all aspects we learn about him,” he said.
Clements, a deeply religious man who believed in redemption, was dedicated to limiting solitary confinement and helping prepare those isolated inmates for life outside. Ebel was kicked out of two programs aimed at getting him out of solitary because of disciplinary problems but prison records show he completed a required program aimed at preparing him for life after prison.
– By Colleen Slevin, AP Writer
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