DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. John Hickenlooper reacted with great sadness on Wednesday to the murder of Tom Clements, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

After the governor ordered flags be lowered to half-staff at public buildings statewide in memory of Clements he spoke publicly for 12 minutes outside his office about Clements’ life. Clements, 58, was killed Tuesday night at his home in Monument. (FULL STORY)

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Hickenlooper was red-eyed and somber and spoke haltingly, saying he doesn’t think the killing was part of any larger attack against his cabinet, members of which stood behind him, several of them crying. Others dabbed their eyes.

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“Corrections is a very different job. You make difficult decisions every time that affect different people,” Hickenlooper said, calling Clements dedicated, funny, caring and an expert on the latest and best methods in his field who decided not to retire or take another opportunity when he took the Colorado job.

“He first turned us down and was going to go to another state and then upon reflection came to Colorado and we are so grateful for the time that he gave us. He was a dedicated, committed, funny, caring expert at corrections,” the governor said.

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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 who led the department under two governors. The department operates 20 adult prisons and a juvenile detainment system.

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Clements worked for 31 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, both in prisons as well as probation and parole services. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri.

“Tom Clements dedicated his life to being a public servant, to making our state a better place and he is going to be deeply, deeply missed,” Hickenlooper said.

Flags will be lowered from sunrise to sunset until the day after Clements’ funeral. Arrangements are pending.

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