Colorado prison chief death: two white supremacists sought
James Lohr and Thomas Guolee, said to be part of the 211 Crew, have been identified as persons of interest in the March 19 slaying of Colorado prison chief Tom Clements.
Ryan Brown edits the Africa Monitor blog and contributes to the national and international news desks of the Monitor. She is a former Fulbright fellow to South Africa and holds a degree in history from Duke University.
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The men, James Lohr and Thomas Guolee, are said to be part of the 211 Crew, a gang whose members also included Evan Ebel, the primary suspect in Mr. Clements’s killing. Mr. Ebel died in a shootout with police two days after the March 19 slaying.
Authorities have not elaborated on a tie between Ebel and Messrs. Lohr and Guolee, except to say they believe the three were in touch before the killing, The Denver Post reports.
But the warning issued Wednesday evening by the sheriff’s office in El Paso County, where Clements was killed, is the first indication that other members of the white supremacist group may have been involved in the slaying.
"These are a couple of names that have come up during the ongoing investigation of the Clements murder," Lt. Jeff Kramer, the public information officer for the sheriff’s office, told the Post. "Because of the circumstances where you have violent folks who are willing to execute a [Department of Corrections] official, we don't want to underestimate these guys.”
Both Lohr and Guolee are wanted on charges unrelated to Clements’s death, the sheriff’s office said, and both are believed to be armed. Kramer said one or both of the men may be headed to Nevada or Texas.
The investigators’ announcement came the same day as reputed 211 gang “shot caller” Benjamin Davis was sentenced in a Denver court to an additional 108 years in prison on a racketeering charge. Mr. Davis, who is already serving a 30-year conviction for robbery and assault, founded the white supremacist gang in 1995 at Denver County Jail after he claimed his jaw had been broken by a black inmate, the Post reports.
Meanwhile, news emerged earlier this week that Ebel had been released from prison in January as the result of a clerical error. He was supposed to spend four more years in prison for a 2006 assault on a police officer, but authorities mistakenly entered the charge as one to be served co-currently with his other sentences, rather than consecutively.
The week before the deaths of Clements and pizza deliveryman Nathan Leon – whom Ebel is also suspected of killing – Colorado authorities flagged his electronic monitoring bracelet for tampering. But by the time police followed up, Ebel had fled.
Two weeks after Ebel’s fatal shootout with police, Mike McLelland, district attorney for Kaufman County, Texas, and his wife were gunned down in their home. That case also has potential connections to a white-supremacist prison gang.
The group in question in that case is the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has described as “arguably the most violent white supremacist prison gang out there,” according to a Monitor story.
Early news reports floated possible connections between the killings of Clements and the McLellands, but so far no major evidence has emerged to support that idea.
The 211 gang operates exclusively in Colorado, and some have theorized that the group ordered the hit to settle scores with the prison authorities. One month before Clements’s killing, a “core group” of the gang’s members were moved to another correctional facility, possibly to dilute their strength in the prison system, the Post reports.