Texas shootout suspect confirmed as suspect in Leon murder, not Clements murder
DENVER — Denver Police have confirmed the man killed following a chase and shootout with police in Texas yesterday is also a suspect in the murder of a Denver pizza delivery driver.
However, officials from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, who spoke at a press conference near Dallas on Friday, said that suspect has not yet been linked to the murder of Tom Clements, Executive Director of Colorado’s Department of Corrections.
All of the news concerns Evan Ebel, 28, a parolee in the Denver area who authorities officially identified as the “legally deceased” suspect involved in a chase and shootout with police in Decatur, Texas on Thursday.
Some 800 miles away, the Denver Police Department tweeted that Ebel is now a suspect in the murder of Domino’s pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon.
“Thanks to great work by Golden Police Department investigators, Denver Police Department detectives and a forensic examination by the Denver Crime Lab, we are confident the Texas suspect is also the suspect in the Denver/Golden case,” the DPD stated in an abbreviated fashion over several tweets. “Investigators caution that the case is ongoing despite the suspect’s death.”
Leon went missing while making a delivery on Sunday. His body was later discovered in Golden.
Ebel has an extensive criminal history, including convictions for assault, robbery and weapons violations. He is also thought to be a member of a white supremacist prison gang.
Texas and Colorado authorities confirmed that the vehicle Ebel was driving at the time of the chase and shootout appears on Friday appears to match the “boxy-style” 1990s model dark-colored model El Paso County deputies described as a vehicle of interest spotted near Clements’ home the night he was killed. They also confirmed that the vehicle in question has Colorado plates.
They did not, however, expressly confirm that Ebel’s vehicle is indeed the vehicle of interest that authorities have been trying to track down.
The Texas chase and shooting began in Bowie, Tex., when Montague County Sheriff’s Deputy James Boyd tried to pull over a black Cadillac at 11 a.m. for a minor traffic violation. The driver fired on Boyd, hitting him twice in the chest. One bullet grazed his head, reported WFAA-TV. Boyd was wearing a bullet-proof vest and is expected to survive.
The Cadillac led police and deputies on a 35 mile chase down U.S. 287 South, sometimes reaching speeds of 100 miles per hour. At times he pointed his gun out the window and fired at law enforcement officers, reported the Wise County Messenger.
“He shot at me at least four times,” said Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins.
As the Cadillac entered the town of Decatur, Tex., northwest of Dallas, the chase ended when it collided with an 18-wheeler at the intersection of U.S. 380 and Highway 287.
“At that time he leaped out of his vehicle and opened fire on deputies,” Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins told the newspaper. “They returned fire and the suspect hit the ground.”
The man was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth, Tex. Walker said he is “legally deceased,” though machines are being used so his organs can be taken for donations.
In a statement, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said they are working 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.” At Friday’s press conference, they indicated no further progress had been made.
Clements, 58, was killed Tuesday night by a stranger who knocked on his door at his Monument home and shot Clements in the chest.
No suspects have been named as of Friday, and no motive has been discovered.
Clements had been chief of Colorado’s prison system for a little more than two years. He took the job in January 2011 after working for 31 years as part of Missouri’s Department of Corrections.