Evan Ebel: John Hickenlooper knew dad of alleged Tom Clements-Nathan Leon killer
Update: The tale of Evan Ebel, the man shot during a gun battle with law enforcers in Texas on Thursday (see our previous coverage below), seems to grow stranger with each passing day. Hours after Ebel was taken off life support, as evidence that he had killed both pizza-delivery man Nathan Leon and Tom Clements, the Department of Corrections' executive director, we learn that Governor John Hickenlooper, who appointed Clements, knew Ebel's father -- and knew of the troubled son who may have just killed the man he considered a good friend.
Photos, video below.
As we've reported, Leon, who worked at a Domino's Pizza branch near East 40th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, was sent on a delivery over the weekend, but never returned. His body was found in an open-space area near a Golden recycling plant. The Denver coroner's office has established that the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.
At about 8:30 p.m. the following Tuesday in Monument, a town many miles south of where Leon was slain, a seemingly unconnected act of senseless violence took place. Clements, who was appointed to head the state's prisons in 2011 and was widely regarded as a reformer, answered the door and was shot in the chest.
Nathan Leon and his wife, Katie.
Clements and Hickenlooper worked together regularly, as is clear from this video showing the two of them taking part in a discussion about the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility, which had been marked for shuttering.
Hickenlooper ordered that flags throughout the state fly at half-mast in honor of Clements while police departments of every description made finding his assassin their first priority. However, cops in Texas eventually brought in Ebel -- but only after he shot and severely injured a deputy who pulled over his 1991 Cadillac, precipitating a car chase that ended with the vehicle crushed by a semi-truck and the alleged former member of a white supremacist prison gang shot in the head. He was kept alive long enough to harvest his organs, than allowed to die.
The latest? CBS4 reports that shell casings found in Texas are of the same sort found near Clements's home, and confirms that a pizza jacket or shirt and a pizza carrier were found in the car. Tests will be done in an attempt to link them to Leon.
The Cadillac is now being analyzed by Texas authorities.
Finally, past 8 p.m. last night, Hickenlooper's office released a statement revealing that the governor has known Ebel's father, Jack, for three decades -- well enough to have heard tales about the troubled boy they tried to control but couldn't. Here's the surprisingly heartfelt and emotional statement, which also pays tribute to Leon:
"Every killer has a mother and father, usually with broken hearts. I met Jack Ebel some 30 years ago when working for an oil company soon after moving to Colorado. Jack is one of the most kind and generous people I know. His son had a bad streak that I know he tried desperately to correct.Look below to see the aforementioned CBS4 report, followed by our previous coverage.
"Although Jack loved his son, he never asked me to intervene on his behalf and I never asked for any special treatment for his son. Based on information we received today, we understand that Evan Ebel served every day of his original sentence and was released on mandatory parole at the end of the time he was ordered to be incarcerated.
"The events of the past few days have been devastating for all involved. I am in shock and disbelief about how everything seems connected in this case. It makes no sense. Tom's death at the hands of someone hell-bent on causing evil was tragic in every way. It also now appears Tom's killer may have had another victim. Our hearts and prayers are with Nathan Leon's family as well. We are most appreciative for law enforcement at all levels in Colorado and Texas and are anxious to learn more as the investigation continues."
Continue for our previous coverage, including photos and video.