Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says he was stuck in a continuous nightmare last week — a colleague was fatally shot the day before he signed into law new gun-control measures, and it came out later that the son of a longtime friend of the governor’s had surfaced as a suspect.
Tom Clements, the chief of the Colorado prison system, was killed Tuesday, and it was later revealed that the Democratic governor was good friends with the suspect’s father.
“I was caught in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from, that all these things kept happening that were to people that I loved, and they didn’t seem to be connected in any way,” Mr. Hickenlooper said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “To me, the emotional toll was, you know, much deeper than worrying about security.”
On Wednesday, Mr. Hickenlooper signed bills, which take effect July 1, that will mandate universal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, require gun buyers to pay for their checks, and ban the sale and transfer of ammunition magazines containing more than 15 rounds.
On Thursday, Evan Spencer Ebel, 28, the son of Hickenlooper friend Jack Ebel, shot and wounded a sheriff’s deputy after being pulled over in a routine drug interdiction in Montague County, Texas, then led authorities on a high-speed chase. He died in a shootout with Texas deputies.
He is under investigation in the shooting deaths of Clements, head of the Colorado Department of Corrections, and Denver pizza deliverer Nathan Leon.
Authorities said Evan Ebel was a member of 211 Crew, a white-supremacist prison group, and had an extensive arrest record. He was released in January after serving eight years for second-degree assault, as well as another six years for assaulting a prison guard in 2006. Mr. Hickenlooper said that while he was aware his friend’s son was in prison, he played no role in how the inmate was treated.
“He’s one the hardest-working, most honorable, honest people I’ve ever known,” Mr. Hickenlooper said of his friend Jack Ebel.
He also called Clements “one of the greatest people I’ve ever worked with.”
“To have two people connected — two people I know and love so deeply — to be connected by this, it’s just — it’s inexplicable,” he said.