Was CO Prison Director Killing the Work of Lone Wolf, Not a Gang?


Weeks after Colorado prison director Tom Clements was killed, investigators are sorting out whether the death was a gang-ordered hit or the act of a lone gunman whose years in solitary confinement may have nurtured paranoia and a hatred of prison officials, says the New York Times. James Austin, a consultant who did work for Clements, said it was unprecedented for a prison gang to take aim at a public official. “This has just never happened before in the history of corrections,” Austin said. “What would be the value of the gang doing that, except to bring incredible heat both on and off the street?” He said gangs “like to do their thing without much attention, especially with a director who is doing everything he could to make the prison safer and more comfortable.” Austin said Ebel, “kind of a lone wolf,” had been released directly to the streets after almost six years in solitary confinement. Clements had been trying to start transitional programs for inmates held in isolation for long periods. (Today, Colorado authorities arrested an associate of Ebel, James Lohr, a member of his prison gang. In an unrelated case, the man suspected of killing a West Virginia sheriff as he ate lunch in his car was mentally disturbed and had no particular vendetta with law enforcement, his father told The Associated Press.)

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