DENVER (AP) – One of two members of a white supremacist gang linked to the killing of Colorado’s prisons chief has been arrested just miles away from where the state official was shot to death answering the door to his home.
James Lohr was taken into custody early Friday, said El Paso County sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Kramer. Lohr was wanted for questioning in the killing of Colorado Corrections Director Tom Clements. It’s unclear if Lohr has been charged.
Authorities believe Lohr was in contact with gang associate Evan Ebel days before the slayings of Clements and pizza delivery man Nate Leon. Police said they believe Ebel killed Leon and Clements before he was killed in a shootout in Texas. The motive in the killings isn’t clear.
Clements was shot to death on March 19 in Monument, just north of Colorado Springs. Leon was killed two days earlier. His body was found in the Denver suburb of Golden.
KRDO-TV reported that Lohr was arrested by Colorado Springs police after a short foot chase that started when police tried to stop a car.
Authorities issued an alert Wednesday asking other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Lohr and Thomas Guolee, who were identified as two known associates of the same gang linked to Ebel.
Lohr, 47, and Guolee, 31, have not been called suspects in Clement’s death, but their names surfaced during the investigation, Kramer said. He wouldn’t elaborate. Both were wanted on warrants unrelated to the Clements investigation.
Lohr and Guolee are known associates of the 211 Crew, the same gang that has been linked to Ebel, Kramer said.
Kramer said earlier it’s possible one or both of them could be headed to Nevada or Texas.
On Thursday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced a sweeping review of the state’s prison and parole operations as more evidence piled up showing how Ebel slipped through the cracks in the criminal justice system to become a suspect in the killing of the state’s prisons chief.
Ebel was released from prison four years early due to a clerical error and violated his parole terms five days Clements was killed.
Officials said the state will now audit inmates’ legal cases to ensure they are serving the correct amount of time. They also will ask the National Institute of Corrections to review the state’s parole system, which is struggling under large caseloads.
Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas authorities after the Colorado deaths. Investigators have said the gun Ebel used in the shootout was also used to kill Clements when the prisons chief answered the front door of his home.
Ebel is the only suspect that investigators have named in Clements’ death. They have said they’re looking into his connection to the gang he joined while in prison, and whether that was connected to the attack.
“Investigators are looking at a lot of different possibilities. We are not stepping out and saying it’s a hit or it’s not a hit. We’re looking at all possible motives,” Kramer said Wednesday.
Guolee is a parolee who served time for intimidating a witness and giving a pawnbroker false information, among other charges, court records show. Lohr was being sought on warrants out of Las Animas County for a bail violation and a violation of a protection order, according to court records.
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