Mar 20, 2013 / 7:12 am
The head of state prisons in Colorado was shot and killed when he answered the front door of his house, and police are searching for the gunman.
Tom Clements, executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was shot around 8:30 p.m. local time Tuesday in Monument, north of Colorado Springs, said Lt. Jeff Kramer, of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
A family member called police to report the shooting and officers found Clements, 58, dead. Search dogs have been called in to comb through a wooded area around Clements' home, and authorities were going house to house trying to find out what neighbours heard and saw.
Clements lived in a wooded neighbourhood of large, two-story houses on expansive 2-acre (0.8-hectare) lots dotted with evergreen trees in an area known as the Black Forest. Long driveways connect the homes to narrow, winding roads that thread the hills. Clements' home was out of view, behind a barricaded of crime-scene tape in the road.
Gov. John 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 Colorado department operates 20 adult prisons and a juvenile detainment systemIn a statement released early Wednesday and sent to department employees, Hickenlooper said he was in disbelief over the killing.
"As your executive director, he helped change and improve (the department) in two years more than most people could do in eight years. He was unfailingly kind and thoughtful, and sought the 'good' in any situation. I am so sad. I have never worked with a better person than Tom, and I can't imagine our team without him," Hickenlooper said.
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