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Texas shootout may be tied to Colo. official’s killing

Police say the suspect led them on a high-speed, gunfire-filled chase before hitting a truck.

Joe duty/Wise County Messenger via associated press

Police say the suspect led them on a high-speed, gunfire-filled chase before hitting a truck.

DECATUR, Texas — A paroled Colorado inmate who may be linked to the slaying of the state’s prison chief led Texas deputies on a 100-mile-per-hour car chase that ended Thursday after he crashed into a semi-trailer truck and then opened fire before being shot down by his pursuers.

Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, was driving a Cadillac in Texas that matched the description of the vehicle seen leaving the neighborhood where Colorado’s prison chief, Tom Clements, was shot. Authorities said Ebel was not expected to survive and was hooked up to equipment for organ harvesting.

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Colorado investigators immediately headed to Texas to determine whether Ebel was linked to Clements’s slaying and the killing Sunday of Nathan Leon, a Denver pizza delivery man. Police in Colorado would only say the connection is strong but would not elaborate or say whether they believe Ebel killed Clements and Leon.

The Denver Post first reported Ebel’s name, and a federal law enforcement official confirmed his identity to the Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The brutality of Clements’s killing shocked his quiet neighborhood in Monument, a town of rolling hills north of Colorado Springs: The 58-year-old answered the door of his home Tuesday evening and was gunned down. Authorities would not say if they thought the attack was related to his job, and all Clements’s recent public activities and cases were scrutinized.

The Texas car chase started when a sheriff’s deputy in Montague County, James Boyd, tried to pull over the Cadillac around 11 a.m. Thursday, authorities there said. They would not say exactly why he was stopped, but called it routine.

The driver opened fire on Boyd, wounding him, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said at an afternoon news conference in Decatur. He then fled south before crashing into the semi as he tried to elude his pursuers.

After the crash, he got out of the vehicle, shooting at deputies and troopers who had joined the chase. He shot at Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins four times as the chief tried to set up a roadblock.

‘‘He wasn’t planning on being taken alive,’’ Hoskins said.

Boyd, the deputy who was shot, was wearing a bulletproof vest and was at a Fort Worth hospital, authorities said. Officials had said he wasn’t seriously injured but later said his condition was unknown.

The car is so far the main link authorities have given between the Colorado case and the Texas shootout. El Paso County sheriff’s investigators have been looking for a dark, late-model car, possibly a Lincoln or a Cadillac, that a neighbor spotted near Clements’s home around the time of the shooting.

‘‘We don’t know yet exactly whether this is the guy,’’ Governor John Hickenlooper told reporters Thursday afternoon. ‘‘There’s some indication. I hope it is.’’

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