It's been almost a year since a parolee shot and killed prisons chief Tom Clements, but he may not have been the only target.
In March 2013, Clements was shot when he opened his front door in Monument, and investigators linked parolee Evan Ebel to his murder. The parolee was killed days later in a shootout with deputies in Texas. But the investigation is far from over.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is the lead investigating agency in the case. Lt. Jeff Kramer, spokesperson for the EPCSO said investigators have made a lot of progress, but there are still many questions.
"Was anybody else involved? Did Mr. Ebel have any co-conspirators? If there were co-conspirators, who were they? And what role did they play?" he said.
A Denver Post article said Ebel had a hit list with nearly a dozen names. Kramer said the sheriff's office won't talk specifically about a list, but confirms Ebel might have been after other people too.
"During the early points of this investigation, there was information that was gained that would indicate that potentially, other people could be in some kind of danger, and so of course that was immediately communicated to those particular people," he said.
On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, the sheriff's office released the following update on the investigation and a response to the Denver Post report:
As we approach the anniversary of the death of Department of Corrections Executive Director, Tom Clements, there has been increased media coverage regarding the investigation. Investigators of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Office of the Inspector General continue to work diligently on this case to ensure we fully understand if any co-conspirators were involved with Evan Ebel. Out of respect for Mr. Clements and his family, as well as the citizens of the local and statewide community, it’s imperative that if others were involved in Mr. Clements’ death that they be held accountable and brought to justice. With that in mind, information has and will be held in the strictest confidence to maintain utmost safety and security in the case. This investigation is complex and involves the difficult task of looking at threat groups and gangs within and outside the prison system; groups who often exist for the purpose of engaging in criminal activity and do so under the auspice of anonymity. To safeguard the integrity of the investigation, specific details about current leads or information investigators are working on cannot be shared.
In a recent article in the Denver Post, the reporter stated an anonymous federal official was concerned that he was named on a “hit list” found in Evan Ebel’s possession and there had been a lack of information from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office about the case. Link to Denver Post article is: http://bit.ly/1p8BE0H. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is not aware of any federal official who has been named on a “hit list.” In addition, all individuals who were potentially at risk were notified as described below.
To be clear, from the onset of this investigation, any information gathered by our investigators which suggested any other persons may be in danger was immediately communicated to those affected and appropriate security measures were put in place. For example, if information was learned that a Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) employee may be in danger, the Sheriff’s Office immediately notified the Office of the Inspector General, which is the investigative body for DOC, so notifications to the employee could be made. The Sheriff’s Office does not have access to DOC employee information, nor do we know the quickest way to reach any specific employee. Therefore, the necessary collaboration was put in place with the Office of the Inspector General to ensure timely notifications could be made. If information was gained suggesting a local official may have been in danger, the affected person, as well as the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction was notified and the proper security measures put in place. This effort and collaboration was exercised on each and every occasion and in the interest of all those involved. Details surrounding specific threats or concerns could not be shared publicly, as that would have only increased potential risks.
We want to assure Mr. Clements’ family, other persons impacted by this tragedy and the citizens of the State of Colorado that the Sheriff’s Office will continue to exhaust all potential leads to ensure that every person involved is held accountable for their actions.
The case raises questions about the prison system. KRDO NewsChannel13 contacted the Colorado Department of Corrections and asked about changes made to the prison system and parole system in the last year. A spokesperson said the new prisons director Rick Raemisch was unavailable for an interview.