DENVER — A white supremacist prison gang member was arrested and another was still being sought for questioning Friday in the death of Colorado’s prisons chief as authorities investigated whether the gang had any ties to the killing.
James Lohr, who has the words ‘‘hard’’ and ‘‘luck’’ tattooed where his eyebrows would be, was taken into custody early Friday in Colorado Springs. He was wanted for questioning in the slaying of Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements.
Authorities believe Lohr was in contact with gang associate Evan Ebel days before the killings of Clements and pizza delivery man Nate Leon. Police said they believe Ebel killed Leon and Clements less than a week before he died in a Texas shootout, but the motive is unclear.
Clements was shot to death 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.
Colorado Springs police arrested Lohr after a short foot chase that started when officers tried to stop the car he was driving, according to a statement. Lohr was booked on felony evading charges and also held on three separate outstanding arrest warrants unrelated to the Clements case. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday.
Authorities issued an alert Wednesday asking other law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Lohr and Thomas Guolee, both of Colorado Springs, who were identified as 211 Crew members. Ebel was a member of the same gang.
Lohr, 47, and Guolee, 31, are not being called suspects in Clements’s death, but their names surfaced during the investigation, El Paso County sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Kramer said.
Kramer has said it was possible that one or both of the men were headed to Nevada or Texas.
On Thursday, Governor John Hickenlooper announced a sweeping review of Colorado’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 Clements’s death.
Ebel was released from prison four years early due to a clerical error and violated his parole terms five days before the prisons chief was killed.
Officials said the state will audit inmates’ legal cases to ensure they are serving the correct amount of time, and will ask the National Institute of Corrections to review the state’s parole system, which is struggling under large caseloads.
Colorado lawmakers also are considering spending nearly $500,000 to hire more parole officers because of what happened with Ebel.
Ebel was killed in a shootout with Texas authorities March 21. Investigators have said the gun he used in the shootout also was used to kill Clements when the prisons chief answered the front door of his home.