DECATUR, Texas — A former Colorado inmate and white supremacist at the center of a two-state mystery is dead after a high-speed chase and shootout with Texas deputies. Now investigators are trying to piece together whether he killed the chief of Colorado prisons and a pizza delivery man, and where he was headed when Texas police tried to pull him over.
Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, is a Colorado parolee with a long record of convictions since 2003 for various crimes including assaulting a prison guard in 2008. Denver police Friday said they were “confident” he was involved in the death of Nathan Leon, 27, the pizza man whose body was found Sunday.
Authorities also are trying to determine whether the black Cadillac Ebel drove was the same seen outside the home of Tom Clements, the prison official, who was shot and killed when he answered the door Tuesday evening. Texas authorities spotted the car Thursday and gave chase after Ebel shot and wounded a deputy. They fatally shot him after he crashed into a semi and opened fire on his pursuers.
Texas authorities officially confirmed his identity Friday morning.
Ebel was a member of a white supremacist prison gang called the 211s, a federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Ebel is not on the radar of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremist groups, but the center rates the gang as one of the most vicious white supremacist groups operating in the nation’s prisons, comparable to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. Founded in 1995 to protect white prisoners from attacks, it operates only in Colorado and has anywhere from between a couple hundred to 1,000 members, senior fellow Mark Potok said Friday.
The gang has grown into a sophisticated criminal enterprise where members are assigned military titles such as “general” and extort money from fellow prisoners, regardless of race. Released members are expected to make money to support those still in prison, Potok said. He said members have to attack someone to get in and can only get out by dying.
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 wouldn’t 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 a 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.