DENVER (Reuters) - Colorado authorities probing the killing of the state’s prisons chief, who was shot at the door of his home last month, were seeking two members of a white supremacist prison gang in connection with the case, a sheriff’s spokesman said on Wednesday.
The men being sought were known associates of a gang called the 211 Crew and were considered armed and dangerous, said Lieutenant Jeff Kramer, a spokesman for Colorado’s El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Kramer named them as James Franklin Lohr, 47, and Thomas James Guolee, 31.
Authorities have blamed the killing of prisons chief Tom Clements on white supremacist former convict Evan Spencer Ebel, who died in a roadside gun battle with police in Texas on March 21 after a high-speed chase.
Authorities have said Ebel, a member of the 211 Crew, was also a suspect in the killing of pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon in the Denver area two days before Clements was shot dead when he answered the door at his home 45 miles south of Denver.
In the wake of the killings, Colorado authorities have said Ebel, 28, had skipped out on his parole on an assault conviction days before the slayings, and that he had been mistakenly released from prison in January - four years early - due to a clerical error.
Kramer said the names of Lohr and Guolee surfaced during the Clements investigation but that they were not suspects in the death. Authorities have issued an “officer safety BOLO” - or “be on the lookout” - alert for the pair, Kramer said.
He added that the two were also wanted on warrants unrelated to the case, and the department had unconfirmed information that they could be headed for Nevada or Texas.
Authorities have said they were looking for ties between the murder of Clements and the January slaying of Mark Hasse, a prosecutor in the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office. Kaufman County is east of Dallas.
The January 31 murder of Hasse occurred on the same day that the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that the Kaufman County District Attorney’s Office was among the agencies involved in a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood white supremacist group.
On Saturday, Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found with fatal gunshot wounds at their home near the Texas town of Fourney.
Reporting By Keith Coffman; Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Peter Cooney and Will Dunham