The executive director of Colorado’s department of corrections was shot dead by an unknown gunman at his home on Tuesday night, authorities in Colorado confirmed to NBC News.
Why the director, Tom Clements, was shot and by whom was not clear.
“The initial information was the doorbell had rung and when Mr. Clements answered the door he was shot,” El Paso County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Jeff Kramer said. Investigators were working to confirm that information.
No one else in the house was injured.
A call was received by the sheriff’s office at 8:37 p.m. local time Tuesday from a person in Clements’ home in the town of Monument, Kramer said. Deputies responded and confirmed that a deceased male, later identified as Clements, was on scene. The 58-year-old man was not transported to a hospital, Kramer said.
The governor addressed Clements’ shooting in a letter sent to all Department of Corrections employees early on Wednesday, Hickenlooper spokesman Eric Brown told NBC News in an email.
“Last night, Tom Clements was killed at his home in Monument,” Hickenlooper wrote in the message. “I can hardly believe it, let alone write words to describe it.”
Hickenlooper praised Clements as a man who was “unfailingly kind and thoughtful.”
Investigators had not identified a suspect as of Wednesday morning.
“Because we don’t have a suspect identified, we don’t have an understanding at this point of what the suspect’s motive might have been,” Kramer said.
“We will be at work today,” corrections department spokesperson Alison Morgan told local NBC affiliate KUSA. “That’s how we honor and respect Tom’s memory and that’s how we will do it every day.”
The news of Clements’ death came as Hickenlooper was expected on Wednesday to sign new gun bills limiting ammunition magazine capacity and expanding background checks on firearm purchases in the state, eight months after the Aurora movie theater shooting.
Clements wrote about the challenges faced by corrections officers in a message that remained posted on the Departments of Corrections website on Wednesday morning, including the violent death of one officer in September.
“Together we are ‘building a safer Colorado for today and tomorrow,’” Clements wrote in the message.
The man leaves behind a wife and two daughters, KUSA reported.
Clements was confirmed as the head of the state’s department of corrections in February 2011 in a unanimous vote of the state senate. He had previously worked as director of operations for adult correctional facilities in Missouri, and had over three decades of experience working in corrections, according to a 2011 press release from Hickenlooper’s office.