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March 20, 2013

Gunman kills Colorado Corrections director

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MONUMENT, Colo. (AP) —

In 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.

While Clements generally kept a low profile, his killing comes a week after Clements denied a Saudi national prisoner’s request to be sent to his home country to serve out his sentence. Homaidan al-Turki was convicted of sexually assaulting a housekeeper and keeping her as a virtual slave. Clements said state law requires sex offenders to undergo treatment while in prison and that al-Turki had declined to participate.

The governor said he’s awaiting further details on the killing but called a news conference for Wednesday morning.

Hickenlooper ordered flags lowered to half-staff at public buildings until the day after Clements’ funeral. Arrangements are pending.

Clements is survived by his wife, Lisa, and two daughters, Rachel and Sara. Hickenlooper asked the public to respect their privacy.

Clements worked for 31 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, both in prisons as well as probation and parole services. He received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri.

Government leaders in Missouri are mourning the loss. Clements was the former director of Adult Institutions for the Missouri Corrections Department and had been with the Missouri department since 1979.

George Lombardi, director of Missouri’s Department of Corrections, said Clements was “just a very good, decent person.”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in an emailed statement that Clements “dedicated his professional life and his considerable skills to public service and protection, and the citizens of Missouri join the people of Colorado in mourning this tremendous loss.”

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Associated Press writer Steven K. Paulson in Denver and Maria Sudekum in Kansas City, Mo., contributed to this report.

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