DECATUR, Texas Ė A paroled Colorado inmate who may be linked to the slaying of the stateís prison chief led Texas deputies on a 100 mph car chase that ended Thursday with a crash into a semi and then opened fire before being shot by his pursuers.
Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, was driving a Cadillac in Texas that matched the description of the vehicle seen leaving the neighborhood where prisons chief Tom Clements was shot. Ebel was hooked up to equipment for organharvesting, and authorities say he is not expected to survive.
Colorado investigators immediately headed to Texas to determine whether Ebel was linked to Clementsí slaying and the killing Sunday of Nathan Leon, a Denver pizza delivery man. Police in Colorado would say only that the connection is strong but would not elaborate or say if they believe Ebel killed Clements and Leon.
The Denver Post first reported Ebelís name, and a federal law-enforcement official confirmed his identity to The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The killing of Clements, 58, shocked his quiet neighborhood in Monument, a town of rolling hills north of Colorado Springs, for its brutality: He answered the door of his home Tuesday evening and was gunned down. Authorities wouldnít say if they thought the attack was related to his job, and all Clementsí recent public activities and cases were scrutinized.
The Texas car chase started when a sheriffís deputy in Montague County, James Boyd, tried to pull over the Cadillac around 11 a.m. Thursday, authorities there said. They wouldnít say exactly why he was stopped but called it routine.
The driver opened fire on Boyd, wounding him, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said at an afternoon news conference in Decatur. He then fled south before crashing into a semi as he tried to elude his pursuers.
After the crash, he got out of the vehicle, shooting at deputies and troopers who had joined the chase. He shot at Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins four times as the chief tried to set up a roadblock.
ďHe wasnít planning on being taken alive,Ē Hoskins said.
Boyd, the deputy who was shot, was wearing a bulletproof vest and was at a Fort Worth hospital, authorities said. Officials had said he wasnít seriously injured but later said his condition was unknown.
The car so far is the main link authorities have given between the Colorado case and the Texas shootout. El Paso County sheriffís investigators have been looking for a dark, late-model car, possibly a Lincoln or a Cadillac, that a neighbor spotted near Clementsí home around the time of the shooting.
ďWe donít know yet exactly whether this is the guy,Ē Gov. John Hickenlooper told reporters Thursday afternoon. ďThereís some indication. I hope it is.Ē
El Paso County sheriffís officials did not return repeated messages Thursday. In a statement, Lt. Jeff Kramer said investigators will inspect evidence in Texas and would need crime lab analysis before theyíre able to determine whether the suspect is linked to Clementsí shooting.
ďThese efforts take time,Ē Kramer said.
Other links between Ebel and the Colorado killings arenít clear. Legal records show he was convicted of several crimes in Colorado dating back to 2003, including assaulting a prison guard in 2008. He apparently was paroled, but Colorado Department of Corrections spokeswoman Alison Morgan said she could not release information about prisoners because of the ongoing investigation into Clementsí death.