DECATUR, Texas (AP) — A man who could be linked to the killing of Colorado's state prison chief is likely to die after being shot by Texas authorities following a harrowing car chase there, authorities said.
The suspect is "basically legally dead," although he remains hooked to equipment for organ harvesting at a hospital, Wise County Sheriff David Walker said at a news conference Thursday.
Officials said the man is a paroled prison inmate. The Denver Post reported Thursday that the man is 28-year-old Evan Spencer Ebel. A federal law enforcement official confirmed that identity to the Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Legal records show Ebel was convicted several crimes in Colorado dating back to 2003, including assaulting a prison guard in 2008.
Ebel fired on authorities when they tried to stop his car in Texas. He then led authorities on a 100 mph (160 kph) chase that ended when he crashed into a truck, left his car and opened fire on his pursuers.
Colorado prisons director Tom Clements was killed as he answered the door to his home Tuesday night. Police haven't said if they think his death was linked to his job.
Walker says Colorado investigators were heading to Texas to determine whether the suspect is connected to Clements' killing. The wounded deputy was wearing a bulletproof vest and was not seriously injured, Walker added.
"He wasn't planning on being taken alive," Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said of the suspect.
Officials in positions like Clements' get a deluge of threats, according to people who monitor their safety. But it can be hard sorting out which ones could lead to violence. A U.S. Department of Justice study found that federal prosecutors and judges received 5,250 threats between 2003 and 2008, but there were only three attacks during that time period.
Glenn McGovern, a senior investigator with the Santa Clara County district attorney's office in California, tracks attacks on judges, prosecutors and senior law enforcement officials worldwide. He tabulated 133 such incidents in the U.S. since 1950.
Associated Press writers P. Solomon Banda, Colleen Slevin in Denver and Jordan Shapiro in Jefferson City, Missouri, contributed to this report.