Police Looking For Witness, Suspect Car In DOC Director's Murder

Dept. of Corrections Director Tom Clements
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The El Paso County Sheriff's Office now has a vehicle of interest related to the murder to the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

Tom Clements, 58, was identified as the victim in a deadly shooting Tuesday night in northern El Paso County. He was shot and killed at his home near Monument.

His family released a statement Wednesday afternoon. “We are thankful for the overwhelming support and concern that we have received in the wake of Tom’s death. Our family has lost a devoted husband and a beloved father. There are no words at this time to describe our grief and loss. We thank our friends and those praying for us here and across the nation. Your well-wishes and prayers bring us strength. We appreciate your continued respect for our privacy during this terrible loss.”

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says someone rang the doorbell at Clements' home on the 17000 block of Colonial Park Drive Tuesday at 8:47 p.m. When Clements answered -- he was shot.

When deputies responded to the scene following a family member's 911 call, Clements was already dead.

A witness told authorities that they saw a suspicious-looking vehicle parked at Colonial Park Drive and Scarsbrook Court at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, around the time Clements was shot. No one was in the car at the time. Just minutes later, the witness saw the vehicle traveling west on nearby Higby Road, then turning south on Jackson Creek Road. One person was seen inside. It's unknown whether it was a man or woman.

At this point, police don't know if the shooter was targeting Clements because of his position or if this was random. They are considering every option at this point.

The car has been described as an older-model 2-door vehicle, dark-colored, possibly black. It resembles a 90s-model Lincoln, but the Sheriff's Office is not sure if it actually was. The witness described the car as looking "shiny" and "boxy".

The Sheriff's Office is currently looking for a 35 to 50-year-old woman, who may have been speed-walking Tuesday night on Colonial Park Drive around the time of the murder. She was wearing light pants, a dark windbreaker and a hat.

“This is not a person of interest in terms of a crime, rather someone we think may have made some observations that could be valuable to us," said EPSO Lt. Jeff Kramer. "We’re certainly encouraging that person to give us a call.”

Anyone with information about this car, or who knows the woman's whereabouts, is asked to call authorities immediately. If you are this woman, call 520-7225 to speak with an investigator.

The Sheriff's Office went house-to-house Wednesday to interview neighbors about what they know about the shooting. A search team also combed the wooded area around Clements' home. A K-9 team first searched the area Tuesday night.

The Sheriff's Office says they don't have any information on who the suspect might be, and are urging people in the Monument area and elsewhere to be "aware of their surroundings."

Kramer said in a press conference Wednesday that investigators are "not aware of any threats" towards Clements, but are sensitive to the idea that Clements' position with the Colorado prison system could have led someone to want to harm him.

"We're sensitive to that," Kramer said Wednesday, but added that investigators are remaining open-minded about the case.

Before moving to Colorado, Clements spent 31 years working for the Missouri Department of Corrections. He was appointed to the head of DOC by Governor John Hickenlooper in January 2011.

Hickenlooper reached out to DOC employees shortly after learning the news, and made a public statement Wednesday morning. Read Hickenlooper's remarks here.

In an email to the DOC employees, obtained by sister station KCNC, Hickenlooper called Clements "unfailingly kind and thoughtful," and said he was grieving too.

"I can hardly believe it, let alone write words to describe it. I am so sad. I have never worked with a better person than Tom, and I can’t imagine our team without him.”

Clements leaves behind a wife, Lisa, and two daughters. Funeral arrangements are pending; the governor has ordered flags at half-staff until sunset the day after the funeral. The funeral has been scheduled for 10 a.m. on Monday, March 25 at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

If you have any information that can assist with this case, call the El Paso County Sheriff's Office at 390-5555.

A search team combs the woods near Clements' house.
Credit: KCNC
Flowers on Clements' driveway.