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Longtime Missouri prison director shot to death in his home in Colorado

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | 6:43 p.m. CDT; updated 11:39 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 22, 2013
Searchers use a dog on Wednesday to search the area around the Monument, Colo.. home of Colorado Department of Corrections Executive Director Tom Clements. Clements was shot and killed Tuesday evening when he answered the front door of his house, and police are searching for the gunman.

COLUMBIA — Former Missouri prison director Tom Clements was shot and killed Tuesday night when he answered the front door of his home in Monument, Colo. Investigators have not yet determined a motive.

Clements, 58, was a fixture at the Missouri Department of Corrections for more than three decades. He was appointed director of the Division of Adult Institutions in 2007. He was named executive director of the Colorado Department of Corrections in January 2011, according to The Denver Post.

“His corrections family for 30 years was here,” director George Lombardi said. “We were shocked. It’s a tragedy to all of us in corrections.”

Lombardi said corrections administrators across the country admired Clements for his innovation, integrity and effective leadership.

“He was a good and decent person, and that shone through,” Lombardi said.

Denise Balazic worked for Clements as a Missouri parole officer and lived across the street from him and his family in Columbia for years. The two used to commute together to Jefferson City.

"I can't imagine anyone who ever met him who wouldn't like him,” Balazic said. “He was so decent and so fair.”

In January 2011, Clements began work as executive director of Colorado's Department of Corrections. Balazic, who is now a member of the Colorado Board of Parole, said he made many positive changes for offenders there.

Governor Jay Nixon released a statement Wednesday morning expressing consolation for Clements’ friends in both states.

"Tom dedicated his professional life and his considerable skills to public service and protection,” Nixon said in the statement. “The citizens of Missouri join the people of Colorado in mourning this tremendous loss."

Clements held multiple degrees in administration and sociology from MU. He and his wife raised their two daughters, who are now grown, in the Highlands community in south Columbia.

Former neighbor Chuck Headley said Clements was a serious bicyclist and devoted father. 

Clements began his career with the DOC as a parole officer in 1979 and worked his way up, Lombardi said.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the slaying with help from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, according to The Denver Post.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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