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March 20, 2013

Gunman kills Colorado Corrections director

MONUMENT, Colo. (AP) — The executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections was shot and killed when he answered the front door of his house, and police are searching for the gunman and trying to figure out if it had anything to do with his position.

Tom Clements was shot around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday in Monument, north of Colorado Springs, said Lt. Jeff Kramer, of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

Kramer said investigators have not ruled anything out, but it could have been related to his job.

“As the director of the Department of Corrections or any similar type position, it could in fact open someone up to be a target of a crime such as this. Although we remain sensitive to that, we also want to make sure that we remain open-minded to other possibilities as well,” Kramer said.

A family member called 911 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 neighbors heard and saw.

Clements lived in a wooded neighborhood of large, two-story houses on expansive 2-acre 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.

Colorado 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 department operates 20 adult prisons and a juvenile detainment system.

After Clements was appointed, Hickenlooper praised Clements for his approach to incarceration, saying Clements relied on proven methods to improve prison safety inside and programs that have been shown to improve successful outcomes after offenders are released from prison.

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