DECATUR, Texas - A Colorado white supremacist killed in a shootout with Texas lawmen Thursday was firing the same brand of 9mm bullets used to kill Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements two days earlier, according records obtained by 7NEWS.
Texas Ranger Anthony Bradford said in a statement supporting a search warrant for a black 1991 Cadillac Deville that Evan Spencer Ebel wrecked during a high-speed chase that Ebel was shooting at officers with a 9mm Smith & Wesson firing Hornady rounds. Bradford wrote that “Hornady 9mm shell casings were recovered” at the Clements’ murder scene.
On Friday afternoon, El Paso County sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer the shell casings recovered from the Texas shooting have been brought back for analysis at the Colorado Springs Metro Crime Lab. “The ballistic comparison would hope to prove or disprove whether or not the same weapon used in Texas was used in the Clements homicide,” Kramer added.
Meanwhile, Bradford wrote that the Cadillac also contained evidence that could be linked to the Denver police investigation of the Sunday slaying of Nathan Leon, a Denver Domino’s Pizza delivery man.
In the Cadillac’s open trunk, investigators saw an insulated Domino’s Pizza carrier and a Domino’s shirt or jacket, the affidavit said.
The 27-year-old Leon disappeared after being sent on a midday Sunday delivery run from a Domino's at 50th Avenue and Forest Street. His body was found about six hours later at 151 S. Rooney Rd. in a remote area of Golden by a man flying model airplanes. His vehicle was found nearby.
Crime-scene technicians from the Texas Department of Safety and Colorado law enforcement agencies on Friday were processing the Cadillac for evidence, including guns and other weapons, ammunition – fired and unfired – as well as clothing, blood, hair, semen, fibers and “other biological and trace evidenced commonly associated with crimes of violence,” the affidavit said. They’re also searching for stolen property, illegal drugs and electronics, including cellphones, computers and thumb-drives.
Denver police, who sent investigators to Texas, confirm Ebel is a suspect in the killing of Leon.
"We are confident TX suspect is also suspect in Denver/Golden case," Denver Police said via Twitter Friday. "Thanks to great work by Golden PD inv, DPD dets and Forensic examn. [sic]"
Ebel, who was on parole in Colorado, was shot in the head during a shootout with Wise County deputies in Decatur, Texas, at the end of a 100-mph car chase on Thursday morning. He was on life support Thursday night and died Friday morning.
During a Friday afternoon news conference, the Wise County, Texas, Sheriff David Walker said there is patrol car dash-camera video of the chase and shootout Thursday, however, it is not being released yet.
Investigators said they have not yet determined why Ebel was in Texas.
Ebel was in and out of jail for the last 10 years, ABC reported. Friends told ABC producer Carol McKinley that prison changed Ebel and that he emerged a white supremacist.
Ebel sported tattoos that said "hopeless" and "Evil Evan."
Ebel's father testified at the state Capitol in 2011 that his son spent years in solitary confinement and had trouble communicating during visits.
"He'll rant a little bit. He'll stammer. He'll be frustrated that he can't find the words," Jack Ebel said.
According to Department of Corrections records, Ebel was serving his parole in Denver. His record shows he had been convicted of burglary, robbery, trespass and assault on a prison guard.
-- Clements' killing --
Clements was killed at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday when he answered the door at his home in the 17400 block of Colonial Park Drive in Monument, according to El Paso County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Kramer.
A source familiar with the investigation told CALL7 Investigator Theresa Marchetta the interaction at the doorway lasted for a matter of minutes before Clements was shot in the chest. There also may have been a struggle, the source said.
Authorities investigating the Clements’ slaying say the first link to Ebel was that he was driving a black Cadillac during the Texas chase that is similar to the boxy black vehicle spotted near Clements’ home at the time of the killing.
“Physical evidence doesn’t lie,” said El Paso County Sheriff's Inspector John San Agustin, who is in Texas investigating the potential Ebel-Clements connection. He also noted that the Cadillac had two different Colorado license plates.
Investigators trying to solve Clements' murder are leaning toward the theory he was specifically targeted but stress they cannot completely rule out a random shooting.
-- Texas Chase Ends in Shootout --
The clues linking the two murders came to light because of the chase in Texas.
A dash-camera video shows a Montague County deputy in Bowie, Texas, pulled over a black Cadillac around 11:20 a.m. Thursday. Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham said the video indicated the Cadillac might be involved in drug smuggling.
During the stop, the gunman shot at the deputy.
The deputy was hit twice in the chest and suffered one grazing wound to the head. He was saved by a bulletproof vest, said Wise County Sheriff David Walker.
The injured deputy radioed for help, gave a description of the black Cadillac and said that it was traveling southbound, Walker said.
This allowed officers from several departments to locate and pursue the vehicle, Walker said.
Ebel was driving at speeds of 100 mph and shooting out the window at the pursuing officers, said Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins.
"I was out on 287, at a crossover, waiting for him to approach. When he came by he was winging his left arm out the window with his pistol, just shooting at every police officer he could see. I didn't think I got hit, but then found out he did hit the front tire on my vehicle," said Hoskins. "He was going so fast I never had the chance to shoot back.”
Hoskins' vehicle and a lieutenant's vehicle were both hit by gunfire.
The chase ended when Ebel ran a red light and was broadsided by a truck hauling rocks in the city of Decatur in Wise County, Texas.
"The suspect wrecked out, jumped out and started another gun battle with deputies and the highway patrol at which time he was shot," Montague County Sheriff Paul Cunningham said.
ABC affiliate WFAA shared video from a helicopter that flew over the scene of the crash and shootout. It showed the wrecked black Cadillac that the suspect was driving. The hood of the car had been torn off and the roof partially crushed.
The video also showed the car had Colorado license plates on the front and back, but each had a different number.
Ebel was taken to a nearby hospital and then one in Fort Worth. Walker said Thursday that Ebel was "legally deceased" but he was being kept alive so that his organs could be harvested. He died Friday morning.
The deputy who was shot, James Boyd, is doing well, Walker said. Boyd was sitting up in bed and his family was with him, Walker said.
Investigators from El Paso County, Denver and Golden went to Texas Thursday evening to join in the investigation. The FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also involved.