Police probe Texas link to Colorado prison chief killing

DENVER Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:23pm EDT

Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, is shown in this undated department photograph. Clements was killed in his home on March 19, 2013, according to a statement from Gov. John Hickenlooper's office. REUTERS/Colorado Department of Corrections/Handout

Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, is shown in this undated department photograph. Clements was killed in his home on March 19, 2013, according to a statement from Gov. John Hickenlooper's office.

Credit: Reuters/Colorado Department of Corrections/Handout

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DENVER (Reuters) - Police investigating the slaying of Colorado's prisons chief, who was shot in what authorities said may have been a targeted killing, were looking into possible links between his death and a high-speed car chase and shootout in Texas on Thursday.

Tom Clements, who was appointed two years ago as executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was shot on Tuesday night at his home in a secluded wooded area near the town of Monument, 45 miles south of Denver.

The killing prompted Colorado authorities to heighten security for state officials, including stepped-up patrols at the governor's mansion, the state capitol and other state facilities, State Patrol spokesman Trooper Josh Lewis said.

Colorado authorities have said the death may be linked to Clements' high-profile position and were investigating ties to a Texas car chase, but they gave few other details.

"The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is cooperating 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," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

A Texas NBC affiliate reported that the driver of the car had shot and wounded a sheriff's deputy at a traffic stop and fired on other officers before a chase ensued. His car later crashed and he was shot by officers, the station reported, quoting police.

Wise County Sheriff David Walker told a news conference the driver was brain dead after the shooting, and authorities said Colorado was sending investigators to follow up. The Dallas Morning News reported that the car involved in the chase had Colorado plates.

Clements, 58, spent 31 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, where he became the No. 2 official.

Police have said the killing did not appear to be linked to any break-in or robbery attempt, and did not appear to be a random act of violence.

Authorities had said they were looking for a "boxy" two-door sedan seen idling near the house about 15 minutes before the first 911 call. The same car was reported a short time later traveling from the scene with a lone, unidentified occupant, they said.

Police were also looking for a woman, between ages 35 and 50, who may have been speed-walking on Clements' street about the time of the shooting and was considered a potential witness.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Greg McCune, Leslie Adler, Steve Orlofsky and Phil Berlowitz)

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