Driver in Texas Shootout Possibly Linked to Colorado Prison Chief Murder
(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- A high speed chase and shootout that spanned two Texas counties and ended with the death of the driver Thursday may be connected to the murder of Colorado's prisons chief earlier this week, police said.
A suspect driving a black Cadillac with Colorado license plates shot at an officer several times during a traffic stop and took off. The suspect continued to fire at pursuing officers while driving at speeds that exceeded 100 mph, police said a news conference.
The suspect, who police have been unable to identify, wasn't stopped until his vehicle slammed into an 18-wheel tractor trailer. He came out of the car with a gun and began firing again at police who cut him down with return fire, police said.
"He wasn't planning on being taken alive. He was planning on hurting somebody," an officer said during the news conference.
Although treated at two hospitals, the suspect was "legally deceased," police said.
Authorities said that Colorado investigators are on their way to Texas to determine whether the suspect is connected to the murder of Colorado prison chief Tom Clements. Clements was killed at his home Tuesday by an unknown assailant.
"Do we suspect it is related [to the Colorado killing]? It may be," Wise County Sheriff David Walker said. "I believe the description of the car in Colorado is a box-style black car" that was identified as possibly a being a Lincoln. "This is a box-style car with Colorado plates."
Police said that the driver of the black Cadillac was pulled over by highway patrol officers in Montague County, Texas, when he began firing on the officer who pulled him over. The officer was hit several times in the chest, but was protected by his vest. He was also grazed in the head.
The injured officer alerted other law enforcement to the driver, who then engaged in a rolling shootout with deputies in his pursuit through Montague and Wise counties.
The suspect was eventually hit by a truck on a Texas highway, when he exited and then continued shooting at sheriff's deputies. He was shot multiple times and taken to a nearby hospital before being airlifted to John Peters Hospital in Fort Worth. Police said the suspect is legally dead but is being kept on life support to possibly harvest his organs.
Authorities tell ABC News they are also looking into whether the suspect may be involved in the killing of a Domino’s pizza driver in Denver.
Authorities say evidence found today in the suspect’s car -- including a Domino’s pizza uniform jacket and a cardboard pizza box -- may link the suspect to the unsolved murder of 27-year-old pizza delivery man Nathan Leon, according to three law enforcement sources who did not want to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the case.
Leon’s body was found Sunday in a ditch in Golden, Colorado. A father of three, Leon was shot multiple times.
Detectives investigating Clements' murder seem to have ruled out the possibility that he was a victim of random violence and believe that he was specifically targeted.
"Is it possible this was random? Absolutely," County Undersheriff Paula Presley told ABC News Thursday. "Then again you have to look at what the motive would have been if this was a random shooting. At this point, there's nothing that leads us in that direction."
"It appears at this point in time that Mr. Clements was obviously the target of this homicide," Presley said.
Clements, 58, was shot Tuesday night at his home in an upscale neighborhood in Monument, Colorado.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio