DENVER, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Investigators said the paroled prison inmate who killed Colorado's prisons chief did so on orders from a white supremacist prison gang, the 211 Crew.
Evan Ebel, an inmate with ties to 211 Crew, killed Tom Clements and a pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon before fleeing the Denver area for Texas where he was gunned down in a firefight with police in March.
The Denver Post, citing an anonymous source familiar with the investigation, said Ebel was acting on orders from 211 Crew "shot-caller" Benjamin Davis. The Post said Ebel was under threat from a rival prison gang and Davis intervened and protected Ebel -- in exchange for a favor to be named after his release from Sterling Correctional Facility.
The Post said it was unlikely Ebel and Davis colluded to kill Clements while the two served time together. Rather, other paroled 211 Crew members contacted Ebel after his release and set up the hit on Clements, whose wife was also killed.
It's believed Ebel killed Leon, the pizza deliveryman, because he needed his Domino's uniform as cover for knocking on Clements' door and killing him.
The motivation behind targeting Clements remains unclear.
One theory holds Davis was angry Clements had ordered him transferred to a different prison where a rival white supremacist gang, the Aryan Brotherhood, is more powerful -- essentially breaking up Davis' hold on power at Sterling. A second theory is that another Sterling inmate, Homaidan al-Turki, called on Davis for a favor after Clements denied al-Turki's request to serve the remainder of his sentence in his native Saudi Arabia.
Investigators are exploring whether there are any financial ties between al-Turki and the 211 Crew.
The Post said investigators have answered the question of why Ebel fled to Texas after the killing. An analysis of Ebel's cellphone records showed he'd been in contact with a suspected 211 Crew member who lived south of Dallas and he on his way there when stopped by police and becoming involved in the gun fight.