Evan Ebel, who signed his name "Evil Evan" and is a suspect in two murders, had a "bad streak" that his parents "tried desperately to correct," Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper is a friend of Ebel's father Jack Ebel, whose son is the prime suspect in the killing of a pizza delivery man and Colorado's prisons chief Tom Clements, a murder that brought Hickenlooper close to tears this week.
"To have two people connected, two people I know so well and loved so deeply to be connected by this, it's inexplicable," Hickenlooper said on CNN's State of the Union on Sunday morning.
A shootout with Texas cops that killed Ebel Thursday came despite efforts by his parents that literally spanned the globe to help their increasingly paranoid and violent son.
"I talked to [Jack Ebel] the night we found out that all the signs seemed to point to Evan," Hickenlooper said Sunday. "He was just distraught, I mean he was more upset than I'd ever seen him."
A blog maintained by Ebel's mother, Jody Mangue, documented a son troubled from youth who was sent to behavioral programs in Jamaica, Samoa, Mexico and Utah.
"From the beginning his son seemed to have this bad streak, streak of cruelty and anger. Yet Jack did everything he could, I mean they worked with him again and again to no avail. He had a bad, bad streak," Hickenlooper said Sunday.
Even when he was prison, his parents tried to rescue him. Jack Ebel testified in March 2011 before a committee of the Colorado Legislature regarding a proposal that would require inmates to spend time outside of solitary confinement before leaving prison.
"What I've seen over six years is he has become increasingly ... he has a high level of paranoia and [is] extremely anxious. So when he gets out to visit me, and he gets out of his cell to talk to me, I mean he is so agitated that it will take an hour to an hour-and-a-half before we can actually talk," Jack Ebel told lawmakers.
The governor said Sunday he has been too emotionally drained by the tragedies impacting his friends to be concerned about his own safety.
"The whole week was -- I sort of felt like I was in -- I was calling it a nightmare that I couldn't wake up from," the governor said. "All these things kept happening that were to people I loved and (at first) they didn't seem to be connected in any way. The emotional toll has been much deeper than worrying about security."
Ebel dropped out of school, where he had been in a special education program for "severely impacted" students. Friends said he "lost it" when his sister, Marin Ebel, was killed in a car crash as a teenager in 2004.
The death seemed to set off a string of criminal behaviors and jail stints for Ebel.
The parents haven't spoken publicly since their son's death, but in an undated post on her blog when Ebel was still in prison his mother hinted at the responsibility the parents felt for his criminal life.
"Some people may blame us for what has happened to Evan. I can only say that his dad and I had to make hard decisions when he was younger hoping to avoid where he is now," she wrote.
Evan Ebel, 28, was paroled on Jan. 28 after serving his full prison term. His most recent sentence had been four years for punching a prison guard in 2008, according to state records obtained by the AP.
Authorities suspect Ebel shot and killed Clements at his Monument, Colo., home.
During a traffic stop on Thursday, authorities in Texas said Ebel, who was driving a black Cadillac with Colorado license plates, fired several times at an officer and took off, leading police on a chase that at times exceeded 100 mph.
Ebel wasn't stopped until his vehicle slammed into an 18-wheel tractor trailer. He came out of the car with a gun and began firing again at police who cut him down with return fire, police said.
"He wasn't planning on being taken alive. He was planning on hurting somebody," an officer said after the shooting.
Shell casings collected after the chase matched casings found in Clements' home, according to a Texas police search warrant affidavit obtained by ABC News.
Authorities said there is no clear motive for the Texas shootout, but they believed the Cadillac was pulled over as part of a drug stop. They were looking into Ebel's alleged affiliation with the prison gang 211 Crew to help explain why he was in Texas.
Ebel, who had the word "hopeless" tattooed on his body and was known to sign his name, "Evil Evan," died Friday of wounds.
Texas authorities said evidence found in the suspect's car -- including a Domino's pizza uniform jacket and a cardboard pizza box -- may also link him to the unsolved murder of Nathan Leon, 27, who was killed delivering pizza near Golden, Colo., last Sunday.
Friends of Ebel, who grew up in Wheat Ridge, Colo., told ABC News that he had been depressed and on edge for years. He had been in prison on an assortment of assault, robbery and menacing charges dating back to 2005, according to jail records.
"He was depressed a lot," Ryan Arici, a friend of Ebel's from Wheat Ridge, told ABC News. "And he was a dark person. His walls were painted black and his windows were blacked out."
ABC News' Colleen Curry and Clayton Sandell contributed to this report.