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Mar 25, 2013 12:17 PM

Memorial service planned for slain prisons chief

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- The Colorado prisons chief who was gunned down as he answered his front door is being remembered at a memorial service.

The service for Tom Clements, 58, is set for Monday morning at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

The director of the Colorado Department of Corrections was killed at his home Tuesday night in Monument, north of Colorado Springs.

A private funeral was held for him Sunday. He is survived by a wife, Lisa Clements, a psychologist who oversees Colorado's state mental health institutes, and two daughters.

Evan Spencer Ebel, killed in a gunfight with Texas authorities Thursday, is a suspect.

Colorado authorities say evidence gathered in Texas provided a strong lead in the case but stressed investigators had not yet confirmed a link between the crime and Ebel.

Authorities say the car Ebel had in Texas was similar to one seen not far from Clements' home the night he was killed, and bullets Ebel fired at Texas police were the same caliber and brand as the bullet or bullets that killed Clements.

Ballistics tests are due sometime this week.

It remained unclear whether Clements was targeted when he was shot and why.

A federal law enforcement official said Ebel had been a member of the 211s, a white supremacist prison gang in Colorado. El Paso County sheriff's spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer said Monday that investigators are trying to determine whether there was any gang involvement in the killing, but he stressed that's only one aspect of a broad investigation.

Denver police say Ebel is also a suspect in the March 17 slaying of pizza delivery man Nathan Leon.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, who hired Clements, has said that he is a longtime friend of the suspect's father, attorney Jack Ebel, who testified two years ago before state lawmakers that solitary confinement was destroying his son's psyche.

Hickenlooper confirmed he mentioned the case to Clements as an example of why the prison system needed reform before the job was offered, but the governor said he did not mention Evan Ebel by name.

There was no indication that Hickenlooper's relationship with the Jack Ebel played a role in the shooting. Hickenlooper said he did not having any role in Evan Ebel's parole in January.

Jack Ebel issued a statement offering condolences to all those who have suffered from his son's actions.

"I ask for privacy for me and my family during this time as we grieve for the loss of life that has occurred and for all those affected," he said.

Clements worked for 31 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections, both in prisons as well as probation and parole services, before taking the top corrections' job in Colorado just over two years ago. He began a review of the state's solitary confinement system and eventually reduced the number of prisoners being held in solitary. He closed a new prison built specifically to hold such prisoners - Colorado State Penitentiary II.

His work won praise from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the union representing prison workers, which called him a "leader who looked out for those he led."

Officials took additional security measures after Clements' death and placed the state prisons on lockdown Friday for the second time since Clements' death.

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