by Chet Hardin
Following the news that Tom Clements, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, was shot and killed, the Colorado ACLU released a statement lauding the director's brief tenure with DOC.
Clements was killed last night at his Monument home, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
On March 19, 2013, at approximately 8:47 p.m., the El Paso County Sheriff's Office received a 9-1-1 call from a resident in the 17400 block of Colonial Park Drive reporting a shooting at the residence. Deputies arrived at the residence to find an adult male deceased; the male was identified as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections, Tom Clements.
There is no suspect identified in this case, but a vehicle of interest has been identified. The vehicle was seen by a local resident near the Clements' home approximately 15 minutes prior to the first 9-1-1 call. The vehicle was running but unoccupied. The vehicle was gone a few minutes later but was observed a short time later traveling west on Higby Road, turning south on Jackson Creek Parkway.
The vehicle of interest is described as a late model 2-door, "boxy" style, similar to a 90's model Lincoln. It's shiny and black or dark in color.
Later, the sheriff's office updated this press release, to include details of the possible driver: "We believe there was a white female, 35-50 years of age, who may have been speed-walking last night along Colonial Park Drive at 8:30 p.m. She was wearing light pants, a dark wind breaker and a hat. "
If you have any information you think can be useful, the sheriff's office urges you to call 390-5555.
As this case unfolds, it's worth noting that Clements was seen as an innovative prison director, winning the respect of the Colorado ACLU. From executive director Nathan Woodliff-Stanley:
The ACLU of Colorado is profoundly saddened to learn of the death of Tom Clements, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections. We send our deepest sympathies to Mr. Clements’ family.
During his short, two-year tenure, Mr. Clements took significant strides to protect the civil rights and human dignity of prisoners. Not only did he close Colorado State Penitentiary II — a supermax facility designed to deny prisoners human contact — but he dramatically reduced the population of prisoners held in solitary conditions. In the last several months, he worked cooperatively with the ACLU of Colorado to reduce the significant numbers of seriously mentally ill prisoners held in long-term solitary confinement.
Mr. Clements was an intelligent, kind and humane leader who was open and receptive to the ACLU’s work. He will be deeply missed.